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GAO Report – Whistleblower Protection Program

  • WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION PROGRAM: Opportunities Exist for OSHA and DOT to Strengthen Collaborative Mechanisms, GAO-14-286: Published: Mar 19, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 19, 2014: ” The number of transportation-related whistleblower claims filed with OSHA has increased in the last 6 years—from 508 in fiscal year 2008 to 821 in fiscal year 2013—and GAO’s interviews with transportation industry stakeholders identified several factors that might affect those numbers and how they could be interpreted. These factors include multiple avenues to address safety issues, employee awareness of whistleblower protections, and statutory whistleblower provisions, among others. The identified factors are not mutually exclusive and could either increase or decrease the number of whistleblower claims. For example, officials representing three transportation modes noted that multiple safety-reporting mechanisms, such as anonymous hotlines, can indirectly affect whether employees file whistleblower claims since employees are less likely to face retaliation when reporting safety issues anonymously. Regarding statutory whistleblower provisions, the statute covering rail employees provides the largest number of protected activities, and this protection, according to rail industry officials, has enabled rail employees to file more whistleblower claims than other transportation employees.”

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