Towards the end of President Obama’s administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) passed a rule extending the agency’s authority to cite companies for record-keeping violations from six months to five years.
It’s a rule that was as unpopular with Republicans as it was for employers.
Well, late last week (3/22), the U.S. Senate voted 50-48 to block the new rule. This action follows a similar vote in the U.S. House earlier in March. President Trump is now expected to sign the measure.
As we have written previously, the new OSHA rule extending the period during which a company could be cited for a violation was in defiance of a 2012 court ruling that found the agency’s authority to issue citations for record-keeping violations was limited to the six-month statute of limitations.
Other OSHA measures come under fire
Another rule, the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule has also come under congressional fire. This rule, signed by President Obama in 2014, requires prospective federal contractors bidding on contracts larger than $500,000 to voluntarily disclose labor law violations. The agency claimed the rule was intended to protect workers from wage discrimination and problems involving workplace safety. Employers strenuously disagreed – stating that the rule required them to report unproven accusations. In voting against the rule in late February, the U.S. House of Representative agreed with employers – contending instead that the federal government already has a suspension and disbarment process in place for any contractors found to be actually guilty of unfair or unsafe practices.
Another change for employers…
In another sharp break with the practices of the Obama Administration and as a signal to the business community, the Department of Labor under President Trump has stopped publicizing fines against companies guilty of safety violations. While still enforcing such violations, the new administration stated that it’s seeking to avoid actions that might embarrass or impact employer competitiveness.
If you’re an employer and confused about how various OSHA and DOL regulations apply to your workplace, consider calling on the attorneys at Kainen, Escalera & McHale in Connecticut. We do one thing and one thing only – we are an employer defense law firm – in fact, we are one of the largest employer defense law firms in the region. What’s more, each of our attorneys has over 20 years of experience in employment law and labor law matters and can provide your business with comprehensive legal counsel ranging from assistance with necessary preventive measures to trial advocacy. Please contact us if we can help you.
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