Below, please find a thorough list and description of the many bills/legislation that GAP is working with members of Congress on to improve whistleblower rights. Please be advised that several bills are reflective of legislative action from the 111th Congress, and will be updated as they are reintroduced in this Congress.
FAA Reauthorization Act of 2000 (Air Safety Whistleblower Office) Passed House and Senate (S.1451, H.R. 915)
As part of larger legislation, the House of Representatives approved a model agency whistleblower office, with a disclosure system equivalent to the OSC unit in the Whistleblower Protection Act, at the FAA. Similar rights are in the recently passed Senate bill. However, GAP will continue to work with the Senate to extend the House model to the final bill.
Protecting America’s Workers Act of 2009 (H.R. 2067)
This law will modernize with composite “best practices” the Occupational Safety and Health Act – an extremely weak law that governs more cases than all other whistleblower statutes combined. The Act has been introduced in the House, and GAP will continue to work with the House Education and Labor Committee to include a strong and thorough whistleblower protections. This legislation has not been introduced in the Senate.
Offshore Oil and Gas Worker Whistleblower Protection Act of 2010 (H.R. 5851)
This bill passed in the House late July by an overwhelming bi partisan majority. If signed into law, will be a major victory for oil and gas workers. GAP worked closely with Chairman George Miller of the House Education and Labor Committee to include robust whistleblower protections in this bill. Specifically, the legislation would
- Prohibit an employer from discharging or otherwise discriminating against an employee who reports to the employer, or a federal or state government official that he or she reasonably believes the employer is violating the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA).
- Protect covered employees who report injuries or unsafe conditions related to the offshore work, refuse to work based on a good faith belief that the offshore work could cause injury or impairment or a spill, or refuse to perform work in a manner that they believe violates the OCSLA. Establish a process for an employee to appeal an employer’s retaliation by filing a complaint with the Secretary of Labor, and allowing a jury trial if the Secretary fails to act in a timely manner.
- Make an aggrieved employee eligible for reinstatement, back pay and compensatory and consequential damages, and, where appropriate, exemplary damages.
- Require employers to post a notice that explains employee rights and remedies under this Act and provide training to the employees of these rights.
We will work closely with the Senate to adopt these measures, once a companion bill is introduced.
Miner Safety and Health Act of 2010 (H.R. 5663)
GAP worked with Chairman George Miller of the House Education and Labor Committee to ensure that best practice whistleblower protections are a cornerstone of the Miner Safety and Health Act of 2010, which has received congressional priority in light of April’s Upper Big Branch mine disaster. This legislation would protect workers who speak out about unsafe conditions in underground mines, and who participate in investigations, such as the current federal investigation into Massey Energy at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia. In addition, it would expand rights to all other workers by strengthening Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) whistleblower protections. This bill passed the House Committee on Education and Labor in July, and we are optimistic about eminent floor action. Once a companion bill is introduced in the Senate, we will work closely with relevant committee staff to ensure it adopts equally robust language.