October 11, 2016
WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has published a final rule that establishes procedures and time frames for handling whistleblower complaints under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA protects employees from retaliation for receiving Marketplace financial assistance when purchasing health insurance through an Exchange. It also protects employees from retaliation for raising concerns regarding conduct that they believe violates the consumer protections and health insurance reforms found in Title I of the ACA.
This rule also establishes procedures and time frames for hearings before Department of Labor administrative law judges in ACA retaliation cases; review of those decisions by the Department of Labor Administrative Review Board; and judicial review of final decisions.
“This rule reinforces OSHA’s commitment to protect workers who raise concerns about potential violations of the consumer protections established by the Affordable Care Act or who purchase health insurance through an Exchange,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.
In 2013, OSHA published an interim final rule and requested public comments. The final rule responds to the comments and updates the rule to clarify the protections for workers who receive financial assistance when they purchase health insurance through an Exchange.
OSHA’s Affordable Care Act fact sheet provides more information regarding who is covered under the ACA’s whistleblower protections, protected activity, types of retaliation, and the process for filing a complaint and is available at http://www.whistleblowers.gov/factsheets_page.html.
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and 21 other statutes. These provisions protect employees from retaliation for reporting violations of various laws by their employers and for engaging in related activities. Additional information is available on OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs webpage.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.