You are here

29 C.F.R. Part 24: Procedures for the Handling of Retaliation Complaints under Federal Employee Protection Statutes

Stakeholders: DOE Employees and Employees of DOE Contractors

Scope: 29 C.F.R. Part 24 implements procedures under the employee protection provisions for which the Secretary of Labor has been given responsibility pursuant to the following federal statutes:

  1.  Safe Drinking Water Act, 42 U.S.C. 300j–9(i);
  2.  Federal Water Pollution Control Act, 33 U.S.C. 1367;
  3. Toxic Substances Control Act, 15 U.S.C. 2622;
  4. Solid Waste Disposal Act, 42 U.S.C. 6971;
  5. Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. 7622;
  6. Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, 42 U.S.C. 5851; and
  7. Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, 42 U.S.C. 9610.

Summary:

Subpart A—Complaints, Investigations, Issuance of Findings
§ 24.100 Purpose and scope.

  • This part implements procedures under the employee protection for the expeditious handling of retaliation complaints made by employees, or by persons acting on their behalf. These rules, together with those rules codified at 29 CFR part 18, set forth the procedures for submission of complaints, investigations, issuance of findings, objections to findings, litigation before administrative law judges, issuance of decisions and orders, post-hearing administrative review, and withdrawals and settlements.

§ 24.102 Obligations and prohibited acts.

  • No employer may discharge or otherwise retaliate against any employee with respect to the employee's compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because the employee, or any person acting pursuant to the employee's request, engaged in any of the activities specified in this section.
  • It is a violation for any employer to intimidate, threaten, restrain, coerce, blacklist, discharge, or in any other manner retaliate against any employee because the employee has:
    • Commenced or caused to be commenced, or is about to commence or cause to be commenced, a proceeding under one of the statutes listed in §24.100(a) or a proceeding for the administration or enforcement of any requirement imposed under such statute;
    • Testified or is about to testify in any such proceeding; or
    • Assisted or participated, or is about to assist or participate, in any manner in such a proceeding or in any other action to carry out the purposes of such statute.

§ 24.103 Filing of retaliation complaint.

  • Who may file. An employee who believes that he or she has been retaliated against by an employer in violation of any of the statutes listed in §24.100(a) may file, or have filed by any person on the employee's behalf, a complaint alleging such retaliation.
  • Nature of Filing. No particular form of complaint is required, except that a complaint must be in writing and should include a full statement of the acts and omissions, with pertinent dates, which are believed to constitute the violations.
  • Place of Filing. The complaint should be filed with the OSHA Area Director responsible for enforcement activities in the geographical area where the employee resides or was employed, but may be filed with any OSHA officer or employee. Addresses and telephone numbers for these officials are set forth in local directories and at the following Internet address: http://www.osha.gov
  • Time for Filing. An employee must file within 30 days after an alleged violation.

§ 24.104 Investigation.

  • Upon receipt of a complaint in the investigating office, the Assistant Secretary will notify the respondent of the filing of the complaint, of the allegations contained in the complaint, and of the substance of the evidence supporting the complaint (redacted to protect the identity of any confidential informants). A copy of the notice to the respondent will also be provided to the appropriate office of the federal agency charged with the administration of the general provisions of the statute(s) under which the complaint is filed.
  • (b) Within 20 days of receipt of the notice of the filing of the complaint the respondent may submit to the Assistant Secretary a written statement and any affidavits or documents substantiating its position. Within the same 20 days, the respondent may request a meeting with the Assistant Secretary to present its position.
  • (c) Investigations will be conducted in a manner that protects the confidentiality of any person who provides information on a confidential basis, other than the complainant, in accordance with 29 CFR part 70.
    • A complaint of alleged violation will be dismissed unless the complainant has made a prima facie showing that protected activity was a motivating factor in the unfavorable personnel action alleged in the complaint.
    • The complaint, supplemented as appropriate by interviews of the complainant, must allege the existence of facts and evidence to make a prima facie showing as follows:
      • The employee engaged in a protected activity;
      • The respondent knew or suspected, actually or constructively, that the employee engaged in the protected activity;
      • The employee suffered an unfavorable personnel action; and
      • The circumstances were sufficient to raise the inference that the protected activity was a motivating factor in the unfavorable action.

§ 24.105 Issuance of findings and orders.

  • After considering all the relevant information collected during the investigation, the Assistant Secretary will issue, within 30 days of filing of the complaint, written findings as to whether or not there is reasonable cause to believe that the respondent has discriminated against the complainant.
    o If the Assistant Secretary concludes that there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation has occurred, he or she shall accompany the findings with an order providing relief to the complainant.

Subpart B—Litigation
§ 24.106 Objections to the findings and order and request for a hearing
.

  • Any party who desires review, including judicial review, of the findings and order must file any objections and/or a request for a hearing on the record within 30 days of receipt of the findings
    § 24.107 Hearings.
  • Except as provided in this part, proceedings will be conducted in accordance with the rules of practice and procedure for administrative hearings before the Office of Administrative Law Judges, codified at subpart A, 29 CFR Part 18.
  • § 24.108 Role of Federal agencies.
  • The complainant and the respondent will be parties in every proceeding. At the Assistant Secretary's discretion, he or she may participate as a party or participate as amicus curiae at any time at any stage of the proceedings.

§ 24.109 Decision and orders of the administrative law judge.

  • If the administrative law judge concludes that the respondent has violated the law, the order shall direct the respondent to take appropriate affirmative action to abate the violation, including reinstatement of the complainant to that person's former position, together with the compensation (including back pay), terms, conditions, and privileges of that employment, and compensatory damages.
  • If the administrative law judge determines that the respondent has not violated the law, an order will be issued denying the complaint.

§ 24.110 Decision and orders of the Administrative Review Board.

  • Any party desiring to seek review, including judicial review, of a decision of the administrative law judge must file a written petition for review with the Administrative Review Board (“the Board”).

Subpart C—Miscellaneous Provisions 
§ 24.111 Withdrawal of complaints, objections, and findings; settlement.

  • At any time prior to the filing of objections to the findings and/or order, a complainant may withdraw his or her complaint under any of the statutes listed in §24.100(a) by filing a written withdrawal with the Assistant Secretary.

§ 24.112 Judicial review.

  • Except as provided under paragraphs (b), (c), and (d) of this section, within 60 days after the issuance by the Board of a final order of the Secretary under §24.110, any person adversely affected or aggrieved by the order may file a petition for review of the order in the United States Court of Appeals for the circuit in which the violation allegedly occurred or the circuit in which the complainant resided on the date of the violation. A final order of the Board is not subject to judicial review in any criminal or other civil proceeding.

29 C.F.R part 24