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California Supreme Court: Civil Penalties for Employers Accused of Violating California’s Occupational Safety and Health Act

On Feb. 8, 2017, the California Supreme Court ruled that California law allows local prosecutors to pursue civil penalties against employers accused of workplace-safety violations under California’s Occupational Safety and Health Act (Cal OSHA).  Solus Indus. Innovations, LLC v. Superior Court, No. S222314, 2018 WL 771814 (Cal. Feb. 8, 2018).  This means that California employers will be faced with both civil and administrative penalties for violations of workplace safety and health violations.  This is significant, as the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 does not allow civil penalties.  As a result of this novel decision, California employers will be forced to litigate more alleged violations of workplace safety and health standards and regulations.  Like other workplace safety and health issues in the past, other states may follow California and allow civil penalties for workplace safety and health violations.  

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About this Author


Michael T. Taylor is a Shareholder at Greenberg Traurig in Northern Virginia and Chair of the firm's Labor & Employment Practice's OSHA group. He focuses his practice on the representation of employers in a variety of industries regarding Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) matters across the country. Over the last fourteen years, Michael has defended scores of employers during enforcement litigation, many of which have involved a significant injury, fatality, or catastrophic event in the workplace. Michael also provides OSHA compliance counseling, OSHA inspection...

Adam Roseman, Labor Attorney, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm

Adam Roseman focuses his practice on federal and state labor and employment counseling and litigation arising under Title VII, the Fair Labor Standards Act, whistleblower retaliation under Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and restrictive covenants.