Though Safety Law Matters is all about workplace safety and health, we know many of you deal with employment law issues at your companies and wanted to flag an important blog post by our colleagues. This Spring, the Social Security Administration began sending employers “no-match” letters for W-2s that had mismatched names or Social Security Numbers (compared with SSA’s records). How should you respond?

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When Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta testified before Congress earlier this month, he emphasized balancing safety agencies’ legal obligations and commitments with President Trump’s commitment to deregulation. Meanwhile, members from both parties on the Subcommittee of Labor, Health, Human Services, Education and Related Agencies of the House Committee on Appropriations focused heavily on $1.2 billion in proposed budget cuts at the Department of Labor (but not for OSHA or MSHA).

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Baked into the core of federal safety laws is the concept that employers facing unfair citations can get a day in court. That system depends on two independent commissions of judges – both trial judges and appellate – to hear and review cases involving OSHA and MSHA citations. Keeping those panels stocked with commissioners has been an ongoing challenge.

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Can mis-steps with OSHA land you in jail? Several recent cases are a reminder that the risk is real. While OSHA rarely makes a criminal case out of safety violations, it does pursue criminal charges when people mislead the agency through false statements, falsified records, or destroyed documents. A company that does not take great care in handling an investigation risks such costly errors, leading to criminal prosecution and stiff penalties under federal law.

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