December 3, 2021

Volume XI, Number 337

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December 03, 2021

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December 01, 2021

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Senate Confirms President Biden’s Nominee to Head OSHA

On Oct. 25, 2021, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Biden’s nominee for assistant secretary of labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Doug Parker, who is tasked with leading OSHA in the next phase of COVID-19-related workplace safety standards. The U.S. Senate has not confirmed a new OSHA chief since former President Obama nominee Dr. David Michaels left the agency in 2017, and OSHA has been without a confirmed leader since then.

Parker’s confirmation as OSHA chief comes as an industry-wide emergency temporary standard (ETS) is being finalized. The ETS will require companies with 100 or more employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly test the workforce for COVID-19 infections. See September 2021 GT Alert on the forthcoming ETS here.

During his tenure as head of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), Parker instituted an ETS related to COVID-19 that covers topics such as face coverings, physical distancing, testing, vaccines, and enforcement. Listen to January 2021 GT Workplace Safety Review podcast episode with Doug Parker. Further, in September 2021 California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 606, which created two new, heightened classifications for egregious and enterprise-wide violations. This recent rulemaking in California suggests that Parker may take a similarly aggressive approach as Fed-OSHA chief.

The proposed ETS mandating vaccinations or frequent testing was submitted to the White House for final review on Oct. 12, 2021. Although regulatory reviews can take months, the review may be expedited to meet President Biden’s goal of maximizing vaccinations. Parker may prioritize implementing the ETS and providing employers with guidance on its requirements.

©2021 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved. National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 300
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About this Author

Michael Taylor, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Northern Virginia, Labor and Employment, Energy Law Attorney
Shareholder

Michael T. Taylor is 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 counseling, OSHA whistleblower representation, and OSHA due...

703-749-1387
Adam Roseman, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Philadelphia, Labor and Employment Attorney
Associate

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.

Concentrations

  • FLSA

  • Title VII

  • Occupational Safety and Health Act

  • Whistleblower retaliation under Sarbanes-Oxley and...

215-988-7826
Associate

Amelia A. Esber represents clients in jury trials, arbitrations, mediations, and other aspects of the dispute resolution process with a focus on labor and employment law and commercial litigation. Her employment law practice includes matters arising from claims of discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, restrictive covenants, wage and hour disputes, and other personnel-related issues.

Amelia’s practice extends to occupational safety and health defense, including the representation of clients in federal Occupational Safety and Health...

602-445-8408
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