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Program protects complaint makers

November 17, 2012
The Maui News

The U.S. Department of Labor has announced a pilot program available to Hawaii residents that seeks alternative dispute resolutions for whistle-blower complaints.

The department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched the program for those filing complaints with OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program. The law is intended to protect employees from persecution by employers, such as being fired or demoted, for reporting unethical or illegal activity.

The idea behind the program is to settle disputes in a much faster "cooperative and voluntary manner," according to an OSHA news release. The pilot project's available options are mediation and early resolution with the assistance of a alternative dispute resolution official.

"OSHA is committed to fair, effective and timely enforcement of the whistle-blower laws delegated to us by Congress," said OSHA Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels in a news release.

The OSHA office for the region that includes Hawaii is located in San Francisco.

Overall, OSHA handles about 2,500 whistle-blower complaints annually covered by more than 20 laws intended to protect millions of American workers.

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