When Georgia residents initiate whistleblower investigations, they’re understandably a bit nervous. Being a whistleblower means filing a complaint against a private, government, or public organization that you work with or for. Filing a complaint is a nerve-wracking endeavor to take on, but knowing what to expect during a whistleblower investigation may help people feel more confident about the task ahead of them.
What can someone expect from a whistleblower investigation?
The employee (Complainant) files a whistleblower complaint against a company (Respondent) with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This complaint can be filed in several different ways, including via telephone, in person, online, via email, or via fax. OSHA will interview the person making the complaint. This interview process will help determine whether there is enough information for an investigation to begin. Once OSHA approves the investigation, it assigns a whistleblower investigator to the complaint. OSHA will alert the complainant, the respondent, and any necessary federal partner that an investigation is open.
The complainant and the respondent will gather all information relating to the whistleblower complaint, including emails, text messages, notes, phone logs, contracts, meeting minutes, and anything else they need to prove their side. Each side should also include the names and contact information of people who can bolster their claims. Once they gather all of this information, the respondent and the complainant will submit this documentation to OSHA. OSHA will also require that each side exchange information collected with each other.
OSHA will then ask the respondent to prepare a position statement or defense of the allegations. Each side will have an opportunity to rebut the other side’s position. OSHA investigations can go on for a long time, so the respondent and the claimant can come to a settlement at any point during the negotiations. They can reach an agreement through their assigned investigator, through their own negotiated settlement approved by OSHA, or through OSHA’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program.
Who can people turn to for help with whistleblower complaints?
Filing a whistleblower complaint takes a lot of courage. People who need support may benefit by working with attorneys who have experience with this type of law.