Procedures for the Handling of Retaliation Complaints Under Section 1558 of the Affordable Care Act
This document provides the final text of regulations governing employee protection (retaliation or whistleblower) claims under section 1558 of the Affordable Care Act, which added section 18C to the Fair Labor Standards Act to provide protections to employees who may have been subject to retaliation for seeking assistance under certain affordability assistance provisions (for example, health insurance premium tax credits) or for reporting potential violations of the Affordable Care Act's consumer protections (for example, the prohibition on rescissions). An interim final rule (IFR) governing these provisions and request for comments was published in the Federal Register on February 27, 2013. Thirteen comments were received; eleven were responsive to the IFR. This rule responds to those comments and establishes the final procedures and time frames for the handling of retaliation complaints under section 18C, including procedures and time frames for employee complaints to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), investigations by OSHA, appeals of OSHA determinations to an administrative law judge (ALJ) for a hearing de novo, hearings by ALJs, review of ALJ decisions by the Administrative Review Board (ARB) (acting on behalf of the Secretary of Labor), and judicial review of the Secretary of Labor's (Secretary's) final decision. It also sets forth the Secretary's interpretations of the Affordable Care Act whistleblower provision on certain matters.