The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is launching a new pilot process in its Western region. The “Expedited Case Processing Pilot” allows a complainant covered by certain statutes to ask OSHA to cease its investigation and issue findings for the DOL’s Office of Administrative Law Judges to consider.
The move is possible only if the case meets certain criteria. Administrative law judges may order the same remedies as OSHA, including back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages where authorized, attorneys’ fees and reinstatement.
The department acknowledges that OSHA’s investigation process can take time, and complainants may be able to receive a determination more quickly without losing their rights to a hearing by electing to expedite OSHA’s processing of their claims.
“The ultimate goal is to bring about quicker resolution for whistleblowers and their employers regarding claims of retaliation for reporting safety and other concerns on the job,” said Barbara Goto, OSHA’s regional administrator in San Francisco.