The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) held a public stakeholder meeting on May 19 to discuss its Whistleblower Protection Program and solicit feedback from interested individuals on how to improve its administration of the program. This call followed a similar call OSHA hosted in October, on which we also reported.
KEY TRENDS IN LAW AND POLICY REGARDING
NUCLEAR ENERGY AND MATERIALS
NUCLEAR ENERGY AND MATERIALS
OSHA to Investigate Whistleblower Complaints under Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act and Anti-Money Laundering Act
The US Department of Labor (DOL) announced on February 19 that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will begin investigating whistleblower complaints of retaliation under the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act and the Anti-Money Laundering Act. Morgan Lewis previously reported on the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act in its December 16 and December 28 LawFlashes, and on the Anti-Money Laundering Act in its January webinar discussing key whistleblower developments in the past year.
The Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Administrative Review Board (ARB) recently announced it is updating its electronic filing system (EFS) at 8:30 am EST on December 7, 2020. Beginning December 7, all parties who wish to file electronically must use EFS to file documents electronically with the ARB. The current electronic filing system (EFSR) will shut down permanently at 5:00 PM EST on December 3, 2020. This means that parties will not be able to file documents electronically with the ARB after 5:00 pm EST on December 3 until 8:30 am EST on December 7.
DOL’s Office of ALJs Suspends In-Person Hearings Indefinitely; Procedural Deadlines No Longer Suspended
The US Department of Labor’s chief administrative law judge (ALJ) issued an administrative order and notice on June 1, indefinitely suspending all in-person hearings before the Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ).
The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit’s recent favorable decision in Lemon v. Norfolk Southern Railway Corporation, announced its rejection of the chain-of-events theory of causation in whistleblower cases. In doing so, the Sixth Circuit joins the DOL’s Administrative Review Board (ARB) in rejecting this theory of causation. These decisions, while announced in cases brought under the Federal Rail Safety Act (FRSA), will also apply to cases under Section 211 of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 (ERA) because it contains the same “contributing factor” causation standard as the FRSA.
DOL Administrative Review Board Fails to Clarify Test for Whether a Contractor Is a ‘Covered Employee’
One threshold issue in whistleblower cases involving alleged retaliation is whether a complainant who is not a direct employee is nonetheless a “covered employee.” Under the employee protection provisions found in the several environmental statutes administered by the US Department of Labor (DOL), including, but not limited to, the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Solid Waste Disposal Act, and Toxic Substances Control Act (collectively, the Environmental Statutes), the DOL’s Administrative Review Board (ARB) has applied two tests to answer this question.
The US Department of Labor’s chief administrative law judge (ALJ) issued a supplemental administrative order on April 10, extending the suspension of in-person hearings before the Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ).
The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) released a statement on April 8 reminding employers that they cannot retaliate against workers who report unsafe or unhealthy working conditions during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The US Department of Labor (DOL) Administrative Review Board (ARB) recently issued a decision in the case of Evans v. US Environmental Protection Agency, ARB Case No. 2017-0008, ALJ Case No. 2008-CAA-00003 (ARB Mar. 17, 2020), dismissing a whistleblower complaint filed under various employee protection provisions and finding that the employer's actions against the complainant were reasonable and taken to ensure employee safety after the complainant threatened to bring a gun to work.
In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the US Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) chief administrative law judge (ALJ) issued an administrative order on March 19 clarifying the status of matters pending before the DOL’s Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ).