OSHA Issues New Guidance on Whistleblower Settlements
New OSHA guidelines, effective immediately, state that OSHA will not approve settlement agreements that prohibit or restrict employees from “participating in protected activity.” In this regard, OSHA is particularly focused on the inclusion of confidentiality or “gag” provisions, non-disparagement clauses, and liquidated damages provisions in proposed settlement agreements.
The guidlines aslo set forth other settlement provisions that OSHA will refuse to accept, including:
(i) waiving the right to a monetary reward;
(ii) requiring the employee to return a portion of a cash reward to the employer;
(iii) mandating a worker notify the employer before contacting the government; and
(iv) requiring the worker affirm to the employer that there were no other contacts with the government.