The Occupational Safety and Health Administration oversees at least 20 whistleblower statutes. Each statute has its own timeline for filing a complaint. As noted on the OSHA.gov website, the time begins to run on the date of an employer’s adverse or retaliatory action.
Statutes generally provide deadlines between 30 and 180 days. The type of misconduct that compels you to file a complaint concerning an employer determines the deadline for when you must submit it.
Common complaint filing time limits
Seven statutes administered by OSHA require filing a complaint within 30 days of an employer’s adverse action. As noted on Whistleblower.gov, actions that provide a one-month whistleblower deadline include those covered by the Clean Air Act and Safe Drinking Water Act.
If your employer violated the Anti-Money Laundering Act, you may file a complaint no later than 60 days of an adverse action or retaliatory event. Acts that have a deadline of 180 days to report violations include the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Affordable Care Act.
How whistleblowers may file complaints after missing deadlines
Under certain circumstances, the law may protect employees reporting an employer’s wrongful actions after the deadline. As noted by the U.S. Department of Labor, you may submit a complaint after a deadline if an employer actively prevented you from filing it in time.
The law protects you if an employer misleads you or conceals information to stop you from filing a complaint. If you filed with the wrong agency, you may still have an opportunity to file the complaint again with the correct agency after the deadline.
If your employer violates labor, health, safety or financial laws, you may file a complaint to report the unlawful conduct. Federal statutes protect employees from retaliation and encourage filing within the stated timeframes. Employees may, however, file after the deadline under certain circumstances.