OSHA Agrees To Investigate Wal-Mart Whistleblower Incident

The odds aren’t in her favor—in recent years, only 16% of employees who filed complaints with the Labor Dept.’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration won—but OSHA has agreed to open an investigation into Chalace Lowry’s claims that after she reported suspicious activities at her Wal-Mart headquarters job as she’d been trained to do, she was outed to her boss as the whistleblower, and when she asked to be moved to a new position she was told to look for one herself and that Wal-Mart would make no guarantees about her job security.

Business Week notes that her claim of suffering retaliation is going to be hard to prove conclusively, since she wasn’t openly harassed and since she did end up finding another job at Wal-Mart. Lowry acknowledges that she faces an uphill battle: “”Wal-Mart has been very careful about the way it’s handled me–there’s been no loss of wages and I haven’t been demoted. Still, I think that I did the right thing and they did me wrong by disclosing my identity.”

Lowry says she should have cause for action because the company disclosed her identity, a potential form of retaliation. But that argument hasn’t been tested yet, says Michael Kohn, general counsel at the National Whistleblower Center, a Washington (D.C.) group that reviews laws to ensure proper protection for whistleblowers.

“OSHA’s Wal-Mart Investigation” [Business Week]

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