In an encouraging sign to whistleblowers, the Department of Labor has elevated the status of its Office of the Whistleblower Protection Program (OWPP) so it now reports directly to the Head of OSHA, Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. This puts whistleblower protection on an equal footing with OSHA’s health and safety enforcement, and increases the OWPP’s access to the resources it needs to accomplish its mission. It means the new Director of the OWPP, Sandra Dillion, now has the ear of Dr. Michaels and the Solicitor of Labor, giving her the ability to quickly resolve issues that previously would languish in lower level limbo. And she will preside over one of the few federal programs set to grow, with President Obama calling for a 39% increase in the OWPP’s budget and the hiring of 37 new whistleblower investigators.
By giving whistleblower protection a priority, the DOL is moving forward with its commitment to strengthen the voice of employees in the workplace. And it means more support for railroad workers who stand up and blow the whistle on rail management’s culture of retaliation. For the DOL Press Release announcing this restructuring, click here.