Regulatory Developments

OSHA Releases New Memo on Whistleblower Settlements

OSHA has published new guidelines for settlements between employers and employees in whistleblower cases. What’s the issue here, and what does the agency want you to know? Keep reading to find out.

The intent of the guidance is “to ensure that settlements do not contain terms that could be interpreted to restrict future whistleblowing.” OSHA says the new guidelines, issued in September, make clear that it will not approve a whistleblower settlement that contains provisions that may discourage whistleblowing, even if it does not outright prohibit it.

Examples of such provisions include:

  • Language requiring employees to waive their right to receive a monetary award for providing information to a government agency about violations of the law
  • Language requiring the employee to advise the employer before voluntarily communicating with the government or to affirm that the employee is not a whistleblower

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