Office of Whistleblower Protection

What We Do

The Office of Whistleblower Protection investigates complaints of discrimination from employees alleging retaliatory actions by employers for engaging in occupational safety and health protected activities, including raising a workplace safety or health concern with their employer.

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

The Office of Whistleblower Protection covers employees of public and private sector businesses in Virginia. Federal employees or those who perform work on federal enclaves may be covered by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Whistleblower Protection Program. For more information, visit:

Ways to file:

If you believe your employer has treated you unfairly because you exercised your safety and health rights, contact us:

Please review the FAQ prior to filing a whistleblower complaint.

Click the button below to file an online whistleblower complaint:

By Phone: (757) 455-0891 ext. 134

By Fax: (804) 371-6524

Whistleblower Investigator
Interstate Corporate Center, Building 6
6363 Center Drive, Suite 101
Norfolk, Virginia 23502

All written communication must include your contact information including your name, mailing address, email address, and telephone number so we can contact you to follow-up.

Virginia Code allows up to 60 days after the adverse action to report workplace safety and health retaliation.


What are examples of protected activity under Virginia law?

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.

Lodging a complaint with VOSH without first bring the matter to the attention of your employer; 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.

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).


Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act:

A person may not retaliate against an employee because the employee refused to perform a task if the following conditions are met (Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act):

  • The employee had a reasonable apprehension of death or serious injury if the task were performed;
  • The employee’s refusal was in good faith;
  • The employee had no reasonable, safe alternative assignment;
  • There was insufficient time to have Federal or State OSHA or another agency conduct an inspection or where such an inspection had already taken place; and,  Where possible, the employee sought from the employer but was unable to obtain correction of the dangerous condition.
What is retaliation?

Retaliation happens when an employer (through a manager, supervisor, or administrator) discriminates against an employee for engaging in occupational safety and health protected activities.

Do I have any federal whistleblower protection?

Federal OSHA is responsible for enforcing whistleblower protection under numerous federal laws. Federal OSHA Area Office staff can explain the protections under these laws and the deadlines for filing complaints.

Federal laws with whistleblower protections administered by federal OSHA include, but are not limited to:

Surface Transportation Assistance Act International Safety Container Act
Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act Energy Reorganization Act
Clean Air Act Safe Drinking Water Act
Federal Water Pollution Control Act Toxic Substances Control Act
Solid Waste Disposal Act Comprehensive Environmental Response
Compensation and Liability Act Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century

What is the procedure for investigating my whistleblower complaint?

The VOSH whistleblower investigator reviews the complaint and  interviews the complainant to determine if there is sufficient information to launch an investigation.

If an investigation is conducted and the preponderance of evidence supports the complainants claim of retaliation, the OWP will take action to provide appropriate relief.

During the course of an investigation, if the employer and employee wish to explore settlement options they may do so using the OWP’s Alternative Dispute Resolution program.

What are examples of retaliation?
  • 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
  • Reducing pay or hours
  • Reporting or threatening to report an employee to the
    police or immigration authorities
  • Intimidation or harassment

You may pay for your inspection certificate invoice online. Accepted methods of payment include:

  • Check
  • Credit Card
  • Electronic Check (E-Check)
  • Electronic Transfer (EDI)
  • Money Order
  • Cash IS NOT accepted

If you wish to pay by credit card or e-check, you will need certain information from your invoice, including invoice number and the Virginia number (VA number) of one of the objects. The VA number can be found on the table that appears on the invoice. You will only need to provide one VA number, even if your invoice lists several object numbers.

For all other methods of payment, please follow the instructions on the invoice and the remittance form you received.

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