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Lawsuit delays OSHA's anti-retaliation rule

Minnesota workers who have been injured while performing their job duties may be affected by the postponed enforcement of an injury and illness record-keeping mandate's anti-retaliation provisions. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has delayed the implementation of the policy until Dec. 1, 2016, to honor the request of a federal judge is who is evaluating a lawsuit filed against the provisions. This is the second delay OSHA has allowed for the anti-retaliation provisions.

The new rule stipulates that safety incentive programs are allowed, but they cannot be associated with the reporting policies for workplace incidents. It also requires employers to have a valid reason for requesting an alcohol and drug test after a workplace incident occurs.

The legal challenge was filed by business groups in Texas that claim the restrictions regarding the obligatory drug and alcohol testing after an accident and the safety incentive programs will fail in creating a safer workplace. They are requesting that the court issue an injunction to prevent the provisions from being enacted. The court is researching additional information to determine whether an injunction should be applied to the entire country and affect entities not associated with the lawsuit or if it should be restricted to the plaintiffs.

Employers are being advised to operate with the assumption that the anti-retaliation provisions will become enforceable in December. In fact, employers should become compliant with the rule as it simply summarizes the numerous anti-retaliation clauses that have already been inferred.

Workers' compensation benefits are designed to assist injured workers by providing necessary medical treatment and, in some cases, partial wage replacement. People who have been the target of retaliation by their employers after filing a claim may want to meet with an attorney in order to see what rights they may have.

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