2021 Legislative Summary, Employment Law – Part 2
December 15, 2021 by Stephanie Platenkamp, Kena Cador, Sarah Kanbar, Gianpaolo Ciocco, Angela Yahaira Breining, Ruby Acevedo and Andrew Baker
We are presenting our annual Legislative Summary of Employment Law in four parts this year. This is Part Two.
Cal/OSHA Enforcement Powers Beefed Up (SB 606)
SB 606 significantly increases Cal/OSHA’s enforcement powers. SB 606 contains three key provisions: (1) it creates a rebuttable presumption of an enterprise-wide violation, (2) it allows Cal/OSHA to issue citations for egregious violations, and (3) it authorizes Cal/OSHA to issue subpoenas in investigations where the employer fails to promptly provide requested information.
SB 606 creates a rebuttable presumption that employers with multiple worksites have made an enterprise-wide workplace safety violation if the employer has a non-compliant written policy or there is evidence of a pattern of the same violation being committed by the employer at more than one worksite. The finding of an enterprise-wide violation allows Cal/OSHA to find violations at multiple worksites without having to investigate each worksite. Enterprise-wide citations will carry the same penalties as willful or repeated citations, i.e. up to $134,334 per violation.
SB 606 creates a new category of “egregious” violation. Under this bill, if Cal/OSHA concludes that an employer has “willfully and egregiously violated” a safety or health standard, then Cal/OSHA “shall issue a citation to that employer for each egregious violation.” Moreover, “each instance of an employee exposed to that violation shall be considered a separate violation for purposes of issuance of fines and penalties” so employers can face multiple penalties arising from the same violation. Examples of the circumstances that can result in an egregious violation include the employer made no reasonable effort to eliminate a known violation, or the violation resulted in worker fatalities, a worksite catastrophe, or a large number of injuries or illnesses.
The material on this website is provided by Beeson, Tayer & Bodine for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel before acting on any of the information presented. Some of the articles are updated periodically, and are marked with the date of the last update. Again, readers should consult with their own legal counsel for the most current information and to obtain professional advice before acting on any of the information presented.