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Anti-Discrimination Investigation

Discrimination Against Employees Who Exercise Their Safety and Health Rights

Workers in Virginia have the right to complain to VOSH and seek an investigation of alleged workplace safety and health discrimination. Virginia Code §§40.1-51.2:1 and -51.2:2 authorizes VOSH to investigate employee complaints of employer discrimination against employees who are involved in safety and health activities protected under the Virginia laws, standards and regulations.

Examples of "Protected Activity"

Some examples of activities protected under Virginia law are lodging a complaint to your employer or any other person under or related to the safety and health provisions of Title 40.1 of the Code of Virginia; instituting or causing to be instituted any proceeding under or related to the safety and health provisions of Title 40.1 of the Code of Virginia; testifying or intending to testify in any proceeding under or related to the safety and health provisions of Title 40.1 of the Code of Virginia; cooperating with or providing information to VOSH personnel during a worksite inspection; or exercising on your own behalf or on behalf of any other employee any right afforded by the safety and health provisions of Title 40.1 of the Code of Virginia. (See VOSH Administrative Regulations Manual, Virginia Administrative Code 16 VAC 25-60-110).

Examples of "Discrimination or Retaliation"

Some examples of discrimination or retaliation are firing, demotion, transfer, layoff, losing opportunity for overtime or promotion, exclusion from normal overtime work, assignment to an undesirable shift, denial of benefits such as sick leave or vacation time, blacklisting with other employers, taking away company housing, damaging credit at banks or credit unions and reducing pay or hours.

Refusal to Work

Refusing to do a job because of potentially unsafe workplace conditions is not ordinarily an employee right under VOSH laws, standards and regulations. (Your union contract may give you this right; however, VOSH cannot enforce it.) Refusing to work may result in disciplinary action by your employer. However, employees have the right to refuse to do a job if they otherwise would be exposed to an imminent danger that poses the risk of death or serious injury. Discharge or discipline of an employee who has refused to complete an assigned task because of a reasonable fear of injury or death will be (cont. )

VOSH Anti-Discrimination - Page 2


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