The OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program (http://www.whistleblowers.gov/) has released a summary of its Whistleblower Investigation Data: FY2005-FY2012. The summary shows that since 2005 the number of Whistleblower cases filed through 2012 has increased steadily! From 2011 to 2012 the increase of Whistleblower cases filed was about five percent, and the total increase in claims from 2005 is thirty percent.
The Agency statistics also provide an interesting look at the determination of these historical Whistleblower cases from 2005 through 2012. Of the total cases handled (16,523), almost 62 percent were dismissed (10,221). Less that two percent of the cases (305) have been determined based on the “merits” of the case. Fifteen percent settled between the parties, and about fifteen percent were withdrawn.
OSHA’s David Michaels has said that he does not believe that these statistics are representative of the true numbers of meritorious claims and has instructed Whistleblower investigators to redouble efforts to identify meritorious claims. However, we believe that the statistics show that the majority of employees who claim to be Whistleblowers are not, in fact, entitled to relief under the law. Accordingly, it is critical to mount an aggressive defense to such claims from the first complaint.