It’s the first of December. Significant changes in workplace safety law take effect today.
OSHA’s new drug testing and anti-retaliation rule, which alters the circumstances when drug testing can be conducted and reemphasizes the protections for employees to report injury and illnesses without fear of retaliation, is now in effect. The final rule, which has likely led to more calls to our firm than any other change we’ve seen this year, contains three key provisions of which employers should be aware.
On November 28th Texas US District Court Judge Sam Lindsay issued a 17 page Order denying employers groups a temporary injunction on OSHA’s revisions to its recordkeeping standard involving restrictions on safety incentives and drug testing on the grounds that the groups failed to show irreparable harm. The enforcement of the revised standard is set for December 1st. The Judge left open the door for employers to seek a permanent injunction once the new revisions go into effect.
The election of Donald Trump surprised some Americans. In the days since his victory, our firm’s lawyers have fielded numerous questions from employers regarding what changes to workplace law they can expect under the Trump Administration.
The general election is only days away. On Tuesday, November 8, American voters will finally determine if Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will succeed Barack Obama as our nation’s president.
We continue to receive calls from employers who have heard that they must change their post-accident drug testing procedures because of anti-retaliation provisions in OSHA’s new Electronic Recordkeeping Rule. OSHA set an August 1, 2016 effective date for these anti-retaliation provisions.
While the bulk of our attention has been focused on the troubling Presidential race, employers would be well advised to more closely watch the US Senate races. As I type, the current Senate of 41 Republicans and 46 Democrats could shift to a Democrat body after the election. Nevada, Missouri, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and North Carolina Senate races are classified by the Wall Street Journal as “too close to call.” (Graphic below from WSJ, only better at WSJ!)
We were stunned to see a squared away State OSHA plan issue a million dollar OSHA citation earlier this month.
We should, therefore take note, when that state’s Governor actually spoke at the state’s “Governor’s Safety Conference,” and said that he is concerned about recent workplace fatalities. Governors only occasionally speak at the various “Governor’s” or other State Safety Conferences held throughout the South and Midwest.
The general election is less than five weeks away. On November 8, 2016 - in conclusion of perhaps the most entertaining election cycle in U.S. history - American voters will finally determine if Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will succeed Barack Obama as our nation’s President.
As you may or may not know, OSHA administers the whistleblower portions of about 22 federal statutes. Similar to the recent information from the SEC about problematic language in settlement agreements, OSHA, in its role as administer of the whistleblower program, has recently announced its new guidelines for approving settlement agreements for whistleblower actions.