National Labor Relations Board issued Memorandum OM 14-77 on August 8, 2014, in which it instructed Regional offices to encourage employees who have filed an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB to also file complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor. Specifically the Memorandum states that if a witness discloses facts that suggest that an employer may have violated the OSH Act or the FLSA, the NLRB Agent is to notify the charging party that he, or his representative, has the right to file a complaint with OSHA or the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor (WHD). The Memorandum stresses that NLRB Agents are to invoke this procedure when they believe that a possible violation may have occurred.
This Memorandum follows on the heels of NLRB Memorandum OM 14-60 of May 21, 2014 in which the Board announced a program in which OSHA agents would encourage persons filing whistle blower claims with the OSHA to also file unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB.
This is just another reason that employers must ensure that their written policies and actual practices comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act. And, considering the rate at which Federal Regulatory agencies and our President are issuing Executive Orders, Enforcement Guidance’s and Rule changes impacting these federal laws, this is an on-going challenge.
A copy of OM 14-60 and OM 14-77 can be found at http://nlrb.gov/reports-guidance/operations-management-memos.