Energy Reorganization Act of 1974

Also known as: ERA

Gerald Ford

Signed into law by Gerald Ford
October 11, 1974

Because of the potential for significant adverse effects to public health and safety, Congress passed whistleblower protections for those in the nuclear energy industry. These provisions protect employees against retaliation for blowing the whistle on violations of nuclear safety standards. The law seeks to keep nuclear energy companies—and public agencies, including the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission—accountable for nuclear safety.

Enforcement & Remedies

Under the Energy Reorganization Act, employees who suffer illegal workplace retaliation must file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), part of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), within 180 days. OSHA will investigate complaints and can order remedies; employees who are unhappy with the result can appeal to an administrative judge at the DOL, with additional levels of review available within the DOL and in the federal courts. Remedies may include reinstatement, back pay, and compensatory damages, as well as litigation costs like attorneys’ fees.

Notable sponsors: Abraham Ribicoff  Chester E. Holifield  

Smith v. Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC

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