FAQs: Occupational Health and Safety Reprisals


What is an occupational health and safety reprisal? 

If your employer threatens or imposes a penalty on you because you followed the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) or tried to have it enforced, it is called a reprisal and it is against the law. The OHSA is the Ontario law that protects workers from health and safety hazards at work.  

For more information on occupational health and safety reprisals, please see Reprisals Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.


What is my employer not allowed to do?  

Your employer cannot do any of these things because you followed health and safety laws or tired to enforce them: 

  • fire or threaten to fire you

  • lay you off or threaten to lay you off

  • suspend or threaten to suspend you

  • discipline or threaten to discipline you

  • impose a penalty on you

  • intimidate or coerce you 

Your employer also cannot do these things to you because you were a witness in an occupational health and safety case or at a coroner’s inquest. 


What can I do if my employer has carried out a reprisal against me? 

If you think your employer has broken the law by carrying out a reprisal, you can complain to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB).  The OLRB will hear the case and decide if your employer broke the law. If you are a member of a union you should speak to someone from your union. 

For more information, see Enforcing Your Rights.


What can the OWA do for me if I have been the victim of a reprisal? 

If you are not a member of a union, the OWA can: 

  • give you advice about your rights and how to enforce them

  • represent you in filing an application to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB)

  • represent you at a mediation, consultation or hearing at the OLRB

  • tell you about other places where you can find help. 

For more information, see How the OWA Can Help 


What if I have a question that isn’t answered here?

If you have a question that is not answered in the FAQs or the linked pages, you can contact the OWA for more information.

For information about occupational health and safety reprisals, you can contact the Office of the Worker Adviser by phoning:

1-855-659-7744 (toll-free)
416-212-5335 (Toronto)


January 2013


This publication contains general information only. It is not legal advice about a particular situation and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified representative. This publication was last updated on the revision date listed above.