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Should I Report My Employer for COVID Safety Violations?

should i report my employerIssues related to workplace health and safety are more important than ever. But what if your employer isn’t following safety guidelines? Should you file a report if your employer is putting you and your co-workers at risk?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the answer is “yes.” The organization protects the safety of work environments and enforces standards through training, outreach, education, and assistance. By law, employers must comply with the standards set by OSHA and within the original Occupational Safety and Health Act passed in 1970. Employers must keep work environments free of serious hazards, which most people would agree includes COVID risks.

In addition to the standards that are always in place under OSHA, there were additional temporary guidelines enacted to prevent the spread of COVID. This includes the requirement of employers to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and implement protocols intended to provide respiratory safety as needed. OSHA also indicated employers should follow the current guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These guidelines prevent the infection and transmission of COVID.

To learn more about CDC COVID recommendations, visit

Reportable Violations

In some respects, the guidelines are vague. They also vary from location to location. If your employer is making an effort to follow the guidelines and you’re not sure if they are doing a good enough job based on the guidance of safety officials in your area, your best bet is to speak to your employer. If they intend to protect workers and the public they deal with from risk, they’re likely to re-evaluate their policies and make changes.

But what if your employer has shown resistance to following even the most basic OSHA and CDC guidelines?

Employers are responsible for ensuring their businesses do all they can to limit the spread of COVID. Employees should report violations if they see risks or safety violations in the workplace.

Potential violations include:

  • Failing to take reasonable steps to ensure cleanliness or social distancing
  • Failing to provide adequate PPE
  • Cutting corners as a result of less frequent inspections and relaxed regulations during the pandemic
  • Continuing to operate despite local lockdown orders
  • Other hazardous business practices

Can I Be Fired for Reporting Violations?

No. OSHA includes a provision that protects you from retaliation if you report inadequate safety and health conditions in the workplace.

The OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program also invokes a variety of other federal statutes intended to protect those who report safety violations. These laws give OSHA jurisdiction over several industries, including environmental food safety, motor vehicles, public transportation, and more.

According to the whistleblower protections, your employer cannot take adverse actions against you for engaging in an “OSHA-protected activity.” OSHA-protected activities include:

  • Filing complaints against your employer for violations
  • Causing the filing of a complaint against your employer
  • Participating in an official investigation
  • Testifying about safety concerns or violations

If you believe retaliation occurred after you reported violations of COVID safety guidelines in the workplace, initiate a complaint as soon as possible. There are legal guidelines in place that put limits on how long you have to file a retaliation complaint. The sooner you speak to someone the better.

How Do I File a Whistleblower Report?

You can file directly through your local OSHA office or contact an attorney familiar with workplace safety violations.

If you wish to remain semi-anonymous, you can provide OSHA your name but ask that your report not be disclosed to your employer. This reduces your risk but doesn’t eliminate it since your employer might discern that you filed the report.

You also have the right to file complaints anonymously. However, OSHA views anonymous reports the same as non-employee reports of wrongdoing. These cases are low priority.

You do not need legal representation when filing a report with OSHA. However, an experienced whistleblower attorney provides you with guidance and helps you navigate the sometimes complicated system. An attorney also helps you get the compensation to which you are entitled. This includes back pay, reinstatement, or other compensatory damages.

To speak to someone who can help you with workplace safety issues and violations, or assist you if your employer retaliated against you for expressing concerns, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C to schedule a free consultation through one of our websites,,, or any of our phone numbers: (516) 248-5550, (212) 679-5000, or (516) ABOGADO.


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