The federal and state labor laws govern the relationship between employees and employers in the United States. For instance, the OSHA or the Occupational Safety and Health Act, federal labor law protects employees from workplace hazards. The minimum wage laws at the state and federal levels ensure that employees receive a fair wage and nothing less.
There are other federal laws in place that make sure employees get the right to organize labor unions to protect their interests at their workplaces. This blog covers all that you need to know to report a labor law violation at your workplace. You can use them to your advantage.
Understanding Safety Laws at the Workplace
Federal and state laws ensure that workers are safe from health and occupational hazards. A public agency is in charge in some states, and their responsibility is to look after complaints and ensure that labor laws are properly enforced.
Employees have the full right to report to these agencies if they feel that there is a labor law violation. Workers can reach out to OSHA if an agency is not in place in some states.
Collect Proof Against Unsafe Conditions at the Workplace
There are several workplace hazards like exposure to hazardous material, poor maintenance of tools and equipment, excessive heat, lack of shade, uncovered openings on the floor, etc.
If you want to determine whether a workplace has safety hazards or not, go through this checklist. After identifying any potential hazard, report against it.
Collect All the Relevant Data
Before you fill up a complaint form, you must collect all the relevant data. Besides that, you will require a few other pieces of information to file the complaint. This includes information like the number of people working in the hazardous area, the number of hazard victims, date, time, and accident’s cause, and the type of work at the site.
You should also have information on the kind of chemicals or materials, employee awareness about the hazards, training, duration of work, and the precautions to prevent accidents. Besides that, provide information on how long you have been aware of the hazard risk and the details of casualties and injuries.
Get a Complaint Form
After gathering all the relevant information, you should file a complaint with the agency looking after the enforcement and protection of labor laws. If your state has any such agency, you need to ask them to give you a form. If you need to approach the OSHA, you can visit their page to file an online complaint. You can also download a complaint form from OSHA, fill it up, and fax or mail it to an OSHA office. You can check out a list of regional OSHA offices from its page. In California, there is no option of complaining online. However, you can download a complaint form and file it with the state office.
Wait for Response
OSHA goes through the complaints and evaluates whether an investigation is necessary. An investigation may be off-site or on-site. OSHA attaches top priority to complaints that can pose an impending danger.
An impending danger could lead to severe physical harm or even death. Investigations carried out under the state laws in California are different from the others. In California, OSHA must inspect a hazard complaint within three working days.
Filing a Complaint Against Wage Law Violation
If the employer refuses to pay you the minimum wage or the overtime wages, you can approach the labor office in your state. You can file an official complaint to ensure you get the right pay. Complaint forms may be available online.
If your state does not have a labor agency in place, you can file a complaint with the Department of Labor’s Wage-and-Hour Division. You can file a complaint at your local office or call at 1-866-487-9243.
Reporting a complaint on workplace hazards is important. It would not just save your life and ensure a better workplace, but benefit your fellow workers too. However, before filing an official complaint, you need to check whether you have substantial information to prove a workplace hazard. You can run the information through an attorney before filing the complaint to ensure you have all the paperwork in place.