People trust that the products they buy will work safely and as intended. Products can malfunction and become defective, sometimes causing injuries to people using them in everyday life. Often, consumer products undergo testing by a federal agency, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), but the Commission also relies on whistleblowers to identify defective products.

When you work for a company that puts out a product with a known defect—potentially endangering many people for the sake of profit—then a Charleston product safety whistleblower lawyer could help you report to the CPSC and protect you from any retaliation by your employer. Call one of our dedicated whistleblower attorneys today.

Defective Product Basics

The Consumer Product Safety and Improvement Act (CPSIA) authorizes the CPSC to investigate unsafe products and create federal regulations. The CPSIA also protects whistleblowers from retaliation by their employer for reporting to the CPSC.

Consumer products can have defects that usually fall into one of three categories:

  • Manufacturing defects: improper assembly of a product resulting in a defect that can cause harm
  • Design defects: flaws in the design of a product that could have been avoided by a producer choosing a safer design
  • Marketing defects: also known as failure to warn, products with a known risk but advertised and sold without proper warning of that risk

A company making and selling a product might know that the product has one of these defects and choose to make and sell it anyway. That same company also might now know of the defect but fail to test its product properly and effectively, leading to the same risk of harm to consumers and users of the product.

A whistleblower attorney familiar with product safety reports and local production in Charleston can work with an employee making a report about their employer’s product. The lawyer could also assist with reporting through the CPSC’s website and with producing follow-up information as needed.

Fighting Retaliation by an Employer

Beyond authorizing the CPSC, the CPSIA provides employment protection to whistleblowers uncovering unsafe products and wrongdoing. Section 40 of the CPSIA (15 U.S.C. 2087) prohibits manufacturers and retailers from retaliating against employees who do any of the following:

  • Testifying in proceeding about the violation
  • Assisting or participating in such a proceeding
  • Refusing or objecting to an act or omission in their employment that the employee believes could be a violation
  • Providing information to the CPSC, the federal government, or a state attorney general that the whistleblower believes to be a violation

An employer cannot discriminate against an employee as retaliation in terms of their employment, such as by firing them, reducing compensation, or restricting their role.

If an employer retaliates in this fashion, the whistleblower can file a complaint with the U.S. Secretary of Labor, who can start an investigation and eventually call a hearing and even order the employer to fix the violation. The employee could get their job back with back pay and legal costs, and a whistleblower lawyer could make sure the employee properly files their complaint and requests the right remedies after reporting product safety violations in Charleston. The employee can also bring an action in a U.S. District Court if the Secretary of Labor does not decide on the issue fast enough.

Discuss Product Safety Whistleblowing with an Attorney in Charleston

You can and should step up to report product safety issues with your employer. Federal law protects you from retaliation and sets up a clear process for stopping your employer from illegally persecuting you.

A Charleston product safety whistleblower lawyer could support your effort to expose defects caused by your employer and help you make a report of wrongdoing and retaliation, should you suffer illegal consequences from your employer. Call today to consult with one of our attorneys, even if only to learn more about what you should report to the government.

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