Untimely OSHA Complaints May Turn Into NLRB Unfair Labor Practice Charges
Complaints about unsafe working conditions filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) typically have to be filed within 30 days of the violation to be timely. Complaints for unfair labor practices in violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) typically must be filed within 6 months of the violation to be timely. Complaints of unsafe working conditions may also constitute NLRA violations, in certain circumstances.
Under a new NLRB policy and agreement announced last week, between OSHA and NLRB, OSHA agents will begin to notify any complainant who files an untimely OSHA complaint of his or her rights to file a charge for unfair labor practices with the NLRB. OSHA plans to train their agents about talking points to use for these referrals when communicating with complainants. This is just another of many efforts by the NLRB seeking to expand its reach and influence.