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WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION PROGRAM

What Laws Govern This Program?

The Connecticut Department of Labor’s CONN-OSHA Division operates a Whistleblower Protection Program, in partnership with the Department’s Office of Program Policy. This program is operated under the following laws:

  • CGS § 31-379. Discriminatory practices prohibited. Complaint: Filing; Hearing; Relief. Appeal to Superior Court

  (a) No person shall discharge, discipline, penalize or in any manner discriminate against any employee (1) because such employee has filed any complaint or instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to this chapter, (2) because such employee has testified or is about to testify in any such proceeding, or (3) because of the exercise by such employee on behalf of such employee or others of any right afforded by this chapter.

  (b) Any employee who believes that such employee has been discharged, disciplined, penalized or otherwise discriminated against by any person in violation of subsection (a) of this section may, not later than one hundred eighty days after such violation occurs, file a complaint with the commissioner alleging such violation. Upon receipt of such complaint the commissioner shall hold a hearing in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54.

  (c) The commissioner may award an aggrieved employee all appropriate relief, including rehiring or reinstatement of the employee to the employee's former position, back pay and reestablishment of any employee benefits to which the employee would otherwise have been eligible if such violation had not occurred. The commissioner shall award a prevailing employee such employee's costs, together with reasonable attorneys' fees to be determined by the commissioner.

  (d) Any party aggrieved by the commissioner's decision under subsection (c) of this section may appeal the decision to the Superior Court in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54.

  Regulations relating to the CONN-OSHA Whistleblowing Program (sections 31-379-1 et. seq.) may be found on the Secretary of the State’s website here: Discrimination against Employees Exercising Rights

Note: In Connecticut, an employee must file a whistleblower complaint within 180 days of the employer act that triggered the filing of the complaint.

How Do I File?

Complaints may be filed with the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Office of Program Policy in the following ways:

  • By email to: click here.

  • By facsimile to: (860) 263-6768

  • By US Mail or Hand Delivery to: Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Program Policy, 200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield, CT 06109.

  • Electronically, via the US Department of Labor complaint system, at: https://www.osha.gov/whistleblower/WBComplaint.html

While individuals are encouraged to file their complaints in writing, complaints may be filed orally by contacting the Office of Program Policy at (860) 263-6755 and indicating that you would like assistance from one of the Office of Program Policy’s staff to file your complaint orally.

What Information Should Be in the Complaint?

While the complaint may be written in free-form and contain any information you feel is necessary, minimally, the complaint should contain the following information:

  • the name and address of your employer, including a contact person

  • the nature of the protected activities in which you engaged and why you believe they were based upon occupational safety and health issues raised with your employer, or brought to the attention of CONN-OSHA

  • how the employer knew about these activities

  • how you believe the employer may have retaliated against you

  • the specific relief (such as back pay, front pay, job reinstatement, cleansing of personnel record, etc.) you are seeking.

What Happens After I File a Complaint?

 

After you file your whistleblower complaint with the Office of Program Policy, you will receive a letter confirming receipt of your complaint. The Office will provide the employer with your complaint, and any supporting materials provided, and ask for the employer to provide a response. After the exchange of these position statements, the Office will schedule mediation to attempt to resolve the matter. If mediation proves unsuccessful, a Hearing Officer will be assigned and a formal hearing, under the provisions of the Connecticut Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, will be scheduled at the convenience of both parties. Burden of proof is on the employee, and the employee may represent him or herself or seek the assistance of a private attorney. If the employee is pro se, the Hearing Officer will assist with procedural matters, which includes examination of witnesses if necessary. The Hearing Officer will issue a proposed decision, which can be upheld, modified or reversed by the Commissioner of Labor. If the Commissioner rules in favor of the employee, reasonably attorney’s fees will be awarded. The decision may be appealed to the Connecticut Superior Court.

 

Any questions?

 

Please feel free to reach out to the Office of Program Policy with any questions you may have at (860) 263-6755.

Last Updated: May 31, 2018


200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield, CT 06109 / Phone: 860-263-6000

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