August 13, 2020

Volume X, Number 226

August 12, 2020

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August 11, 2020

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August 10, 2020

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OSHRC Gains a Quorum—Commissioners Attwood and Laihow Sworn Into Office

On January 22, 2020, Cynthia Attwood and Amanda Wood Laihow were sworn in to serve their respective appointments as commissioners of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC). The U.S. Senate confirmed both of Donald J. Trump’s nominees by voice vote on January 9, 2020. Commissioners Attwood and Laihow will serve alongside OSHRC’s current chair, James J. Sullivan, Jr.

Chairman Sullivan said in a statement that he “welcomed the return of a full complement of Review Commission members.”

The Commission is a three-member body and requires at least two commissioners (a quorum) to decide cases. Since April of 2019, Sullivan was the sole sitting member of the Commission. After former Chairwoman Heather MacDougall resigned her position on March 31, 2019, and the term of Attwood ended on April 27, 2019, OSHRC was down to one member. Because the Commission lacked a quorum, Sullivan was unable to issue any decisions on pending appeals. He was, however, still able to continue to designate cases for review. According to the OSHRC website, as of October 30, 2019, there were 24 decisions awaiting review.

With all three seats of the panel filled, the Commission can begin reviewing those appeals and start issuing decisions. In fact, just days after Attwood and Laihow were sworn in, OSHRC issued two decisions—both remand orders.

Chairman Sullivan’s term is due to expire next on April 27, 2021. Laihow’s term will expire April 27, 2023, and Attwood’s term will expire April 27, 2025.

© 2020, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 50


About this Author

Shontell Powell, Ogletree Deakins Law Firm, Atlanta, Labor and Employment Litigation Attorney

Shontell focuses her practice on occupational safety and health law, assisting employers in enforcement matters before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and state plan review boards across the United States. She also counsels employers on complex OSHA compliance issues.

Prior to joining Ogletree Deakins, Shontell worked in the Office of General Counsel at the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission for over six years as an attorney-advisor.

Jaslyn W. Johnson Labor & Employment Attorney Ogletree Deakins Law Firm Atlanta

*Currently licensed in California only.

Jaslyn represents and advises employers on workplace safety and health matters.  Her practice includes providing guidance on federal and state OSHA compliance, challenging citations, and litigating OSHA-related matters before federal and state agencies and courts.

Prior to joining Ogletree Deakins, Jaslyn served as an trial attorney in the Office of the Solicitor for the United States Department of Labor where she litigated cases on behalf of U.S. Department of Labor agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) in federal district courts and federal administrative courts, including the Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission and Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission. Jaslyn’s previous experience includes providing pre-litigation legal, strategic and investigative assistance to both OSHA and MSHA.