No matter the industry, every employer has safety and health concerns for its employees. Not only do employers have a keen interest in efficient business operations, which begins with an able workforce, employers also have serious responsibilities regarding health and safety under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and similar state and local regulations. While avoiding penalties under workplace safety laws begins with proactive risk reducing policies, employers must also face the possibility of defending against employee complaints and subpoenas regarding safety practices. These complaints and subpoenas may result in possible serious monetary penalties and citations, which could critically damage an employer’s operations and productivity.
Our firm works with employers to address safety concerns at the outset – by developing safety programs and training materials that comply with the law and reduce the risk of future liability. In the event an employee files a complaint or an employer receives a subpoena, we work with our clients to investigate the complaint, correct any compliance issues, and defend against penalties threatened in the complaint or requests made in the subpoena. If any compliance concerns remain, our firm works with clients to audit current safety and violence policies and advise supplemental or new policies, programs, processes or materials, including review of handbooks, employee and manager checklists, computer and video based training, safety posters, as well as other written programs and policies.
Our practice extends beyond the manufacturing and industrial workplace settings and reaches into the corporate and retail environments, where safety concerns additionally include issues relating to consumer safety, harassment and violence. Our firm’s comprehensive understanding of clients’ business operations allows us to address safety and violence concerns and to defend employers against OSHA complaints and subpoenas. Our innate understanding of client operations, practices, and programs has resulted in favorable outcomes, including avoiding monetary penalties and citations.
The firm successfully defended a retail client in a Department of Labor OSHA investigation related to the client’s workplace violence program, successfully avoiding a citation or any monetary penalties.
The firm successfully assisted a corporate client with responding to a written complaint related to its workplace violence program, avoiding a citation and any monetary penalties. The firm then assisted the same client in defending against allegations of retaliation filed with OSHA and the National Labor Relations Board related to the original safety complaint. The complainant was a current employee, and the firm assisted its client in navigating the employment relationship, which was fraught with performance issues resulting in the employee’s eventual termination. The firm was successful in obtaining dismissals of both complaints along with a determination from both OSHA and the NLRB that no retaliation had occurred.
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