Peter J. Richter
September 2, 2014
Employers should take note that recent initiatives by two key federal agencies signal a joint effort to facilitate employment complaints, and they may even require an employer to defend simultaneous complaints. First, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had entered into an agreement with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to promote the filing of certain employee complaints with the NLRB. In particular, in the event that an employee’s complaint was filed too late to process under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, OSHA will take steps to notify the employee that he or she may still be able to file an unfair labor charge with the NLRB over the same conduct. For its part, on August 8, the NLRB announced that it is also taking steps to advise employees who bring charges before the NLRB that they might also want to discuss their complaints with OSHA or another branch of the DOL. According to the Memorandum issued by the NLRB’s Office of the General Counsel:
At any stage of the case intake or investigative process, a witness may divulge facts that suggest that an employer may have committed a possible violation of the safety and health provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) or the fair wage, recordkeeping, and child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) . . . . If the Region believes that an employer may have violated a substantive or anti-retaliation provision of the OSH Act or the FLSA, the Board agent should notify the charging party that he or she (or their representative) has the right to file a complaint with OSHA or WHD, respectively.
See OM 14-77 OSHA Wage and Hour Referral Procedures. If successful, these new initiatives could result in employers being required to simultaneously defend complaints before different governmental agencies. Accordingly, it will be more important than ever that employers quickly and diligently respond to any employment related claim or potential claim.
If you have any questions about how the information in this article may affect you or your business, please contact Peter Richter at firstname.lastname@example.org or (608) 257‑2281 or your Stroud attorney.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is provided for general informational purposes only, is not necessarily updated to account for changes in the law, and should not be considered tax or legal advice. This article is not intended to create, nor does the receipt of it constitute, an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with your own legal and/or financial advisors for legal and tax advice tailored to your specific circumstances.
Thank you for contacting Stroud, Willink & Howard, LLC, via our website. We have included this notice to inform you that any communication with us through this website does not constitute or create an attorney-client relationship with us. Please note that we cannot act as your attorney or provide you with any legal advice until we know that doing so will not create a conflict of interest. Until we have agreed to represent you, anything you send us will not be confidential or privileged, and you should not send sensitive or confidential information through this website.
By clicking "Submit" below, you agree that our review of any information you send to us will not create a lawyer-client relationship with us, and you recognize that our review of your information, even if it is highly sensitive and even if it is transmitted in a good faith effort to retain us, does not preclude us from representing another party directly adverse to you, even in a matter where that information could and will be used against you. If you would like to discuss the possibility of potential legal representation, you may request a consultation by e-mail or by calling our office.