Personnel Practices:

Employee Allegations Concerning OSHA Personnel Practices

HRD-87-5: Published: Feb 3, 1987. Publicly Released: Mar 5, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO investigated the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) personnel practices to identify any: (1) alleged official actions that could adversely affect OSHA operations; and (2) weakening in the promulgation and enforcement of OSHA health and safety standards.

GAO found that: (1) 97 of the 124 allegations it reviewed did not have merit, because OSHA could explain them adequately or the complainants could not substantiate them; (2) the remaining allegations did not indicate that widespread violations of civil service and ethics law occurred within OSHA; and (3) few of the allegations would be statutory violations even if they were corroborated. GAO noted that the allegations involved: (1) professional differences between OSHA management and staff in the formulation and revision of OSHA standards; (2) disagreements between OSHA management and staff concerning the qualifications of OSHA employees; (3) disagreements between OSHA management and staff concerning staff management; (4) OSHA actions that lessened the enforcement of its standards; and (5) miscellaneous personnel-related actions that could adversely affect agency operations. GAO determined that OSHA improperly handled: (1) Region IX workers' complaints concerning discrimination; and (2) allegations concerning an assistant regional administrator's improper promotion procedures.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The recommended investigations were conducted in June and July 1988. Improper personnel practices were not confirmed.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should request that the Inspector General (IG), in cooperation with the Office of the Assistant Secretary, OSHA, initiate further investigation of the matters discussed in this report concerning the questionable handling of discrimination complaints 46 workers filed in OSHA Region IX and a possible conflict of interest regarding an OSHA employee's promotion.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor


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    GAO-19-395SP: Published: Apr 3, 2019. Publicly Released: Apr 10, 2019.

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