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OSHA to refer possible ULP charges to the NLRB

May 22nd, 2014  |  David Stephanides

In a memorandum issued May 21, the NLRB announced that it has entered into a program with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to accept referral of complaints that would otherwise be time-barred under the OSH Act.

During the OSHA intake process, those seeking to assert an OSHA whistleblower claim often learn that their claims are untimely under Section 11(c) of OSH Act, which establishes only a 30-day statute of limitations. According to the memo, OSHA estimates that this happens in 300 to 600 cases each year. The Board states that “it is likely that some of these cases may also raise claims arising under the National Labor Relations Act; for example, instances of employer retaliation for group complaints concerning unsafe working conditions.”

To address these situations, the agencies agreed to notify all parties who file an untimely whistleblower charge of their right to file a charge with the NLRB.  OSHA personnel will advise the parties they may file a charge with the Board and that the Board’s time limit to file (6 months) is longer than OSHA’s (1 month). OSHA personnel will be providing parties with contact information for the appropriate NLRB Field Office and also a toll-free number, 1-844-762-6572, to the NLRB.