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Region 3 News Release: 08-1517-NEW (osha 08-215)
October 27, 2008
Contact: Leni Fortson
MILBURN, N.J. -- The U.S. Department of Labor has ordered The Charles Schwab Corp. to reinstate and pay back pay and damages to two employees who were fired in violation of the whistleblower provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. The whistleblower complaint was filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on June 15, 2007, naming The Charles Schwab Corp., Charles Schwab & Co. Inc., Charles Schwab Bank and three individuals as defendants.
The complaint alleged that the two employees were terminated because they objected to and refused to participate in a scheme at a branch office to falsify entries in Schwab's database system. An investigation conducted by OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program determined that there was merit to the allegations.
"This case sends a clear message that OSHA will not tolerate retaliation against corporate whistleblowers," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "While OSHA is best known for ensuring the safety and health of employees, it is also the federal government's main whistleblower protection agency."
The order issued by OSHA awards the two employees reinstatement to their former positions, back pay, interest, compensatory damages, attorneys' fees and other relief. Either party to the case can file an appeal to the Labor Department's Office of Administrative Law Judges, but such an appeal does not stay the preliminary reinstatement order.
The Charles Schwab Corp. and its affiliated companies provide financial services and securities brokerage services primarily to individual investors.
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and 16 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various securities laws, trucking, airline, nuclear power, pipeline, environmental, rail, workplace safety and health regulations, and consumer product safety laws. Detailed information on employee whistleblower rights, including fact sheets, is available online at: http://www.osha.gov/dep/oia/whistleblower/index.html.
Under the various whistleblower provisions enacted by Congress, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or to the government. Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with the secretary of labor for an investigation by OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
Note: The U.S. Department of Labor does not release names of employees involved in whistleblower complaints.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
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