OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
National News Release USDL: 03-266
May 27, 2003
Contact: Bill Wright
Phone: (202) 693-1999
under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
Agency opens 60-day period for public comment
WASHINGTON -- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will publish in the May 28, 2003 Federal Register an interim final rule establishing procedures for the handling of whistleblower complaints under the Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act of 2002, also known as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. OSHA is seeking comments from interested members of the public.
The law was enacted July 30, 2002, to protect employees in publicly traded companies and their contractors, subcontractors, or agents from retaliation for providing information that an employee believes is a violation of a Securities and Exchange Commission rule or other federal law relating to fraud against shareholders.
"Whistleblower protection is an important part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which was promoted by this Administration to ensure corporate responsibility, enhance public disclosure, and improve the quality and transparency of financial reporting and auditing," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "The whistleblower protection provision of Sarbanes-Oxley will protect workers who have the courage to speak out against corporate abuse and fraud and it should be an effective measure to encourage corporations to conduct themselves in an ethical fashion."
The rule establishes procedures for the expeditious handling of discrimination complaints made by employees, or by persons acting on their behalf. Included in the interim rule are procedures for submitting complaints under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, investigations, and issuance of findings and preliminary orders. A major part of the rule details litigation procedures and how one can object to the findings and request a hearing. The final section of the rule discusses miscellaneous provisions including withdrawals of complaints and settlements, plus judicial review and judicial enforcement.
"OSHA has a great deal of experience in administering whistleblower regulations that enable workers to do the right thing and speak out on other issues without fear of retaliation," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "We want to hear from organizations and individuals about this important issue to make sure that our procedures continue to contribute to that environment."
Persons wishing to comment on the interim final rule should submit written comments no later than July 28, 2003 to: OSHA Docket Office, Docket C-09, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-2625, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20210. Comments may also be submitted via fax by calling (202) 693-1861, or electronically to http://ecomments.osha.gov
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting America's workers. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department news releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this release will be made available in alternative format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call 202-693-7773 or TTY 202-693-7755.
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