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New OSHA rule seeks to prevent retaliation on the job

North Carolina workers who are concerned over possible employer retaliation in connection with the reporting of injuries suffered on the job may want to know more about provisions contained within a Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule that was designed in order to prevent this from happening. As of Dec. 1, 2016, not only did the enforcement of the rule's anti-retaliation provisions take full effect, but employers must now also inform workers of their right to be free of retaliation in the workplace.

The two provisions that may be of most interest to employees concern post-accident drug testing and safety incentive programs that are based on employee safety in the workplace. According to OSHA, mandatory drug testing following an accident could discourage workers from reporting a job-related injury and could violate the rule's anti-retaliation provisions in some situations.

OSHA also has reason to believe that certain incentive programs that offer workers a reward for injury-free job performance over a period of time could discourage an employee from reporting a workplace-related injury for fear of losing the proposed incentive. In consideration of such potential issues, OSHA believes that incentive programs should be more broadly based and suggests that a reward structure might be established for workers who report unsafe conditions, participate in safety training or serve on committees that are involved in improving workplace safety.

Workers who find themselves facing employer retaliation, such as a termination or demotion, after they've reported an injury suffered on the job may want to meet with an attorney to see what recourse they may have. In addition to filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits, there may be a separate action that could be filed for the losses resulting from the retaliatory action.

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