Trump Administration Ramps Up OSHA Enforcement
By Lehr Middlebrooks Vreeland & Thompson, P.C.
October 29, 2018
The generalization that a Republican president places less emphasis on employment issues enforcement is often wrong. For example, in all but two years of George W. Bush’s administration, the EEOC filed more lawsuits than during the eight years of President Obama’s administration. The Trump administration’s OSHA has been more aggressive than the Obama administration’s agency. For example:
1. The annual number of OSHA inspections increased from 31,948 during FY 2016 (the last year of President Obama’s administration), to 32,396 during FY 2017 (the first year of President Trump’s administration). That increase was the first increase in 10 years.
2. OSHA’s budget has increased from $555 million during the last year of President Obama’s administration to $560 million during the Trump administration. The number of OSHA employees has remained steady during the Trump administration, at approximately 2,000, which is where it was at the end of the Obama administration.
3. The repeat violation penalties have been substantially higher under President Trump’s administration compared to President Obama’s administration.
4. The number of cases during the Trump administration where penalties of over $100,000 were proposed reached an all-time high of 218; during the last year of President Obama’s administration, that number was 164.
5. OSHA’s civil penalties increased during the Trump administration compared to the Obama administration.
The Trump administration’s most significant changes in employment and labor include the NLRB and the Department of Labor, Wage Hour Division. The Trump administration has essentially left the EEOC to pursue the enforcement agenda it first articulated during President Obama’s administration and for OSHA to pursue the initiatives created during President Obama’s administration. Do not relax, employers.
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