Repeat Offenders

The Department of Labor proposed $315,000 in new fines against General Aluminum Mfg. Co., of Ohio after discovering ongoing machine hazards that had been previously cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The prior citation (from OSHA’s September 2021 investigation related to a March 2021 fatality) included 38 violations, resulting in $1,671,738 in proposed penalties.

In another case, a $370,000 award for back wages and damages for Indiana security workers included $69,540 for willfully violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), as the company previously was found to have violated the FLSA (which itself included $25,000 for a willful violation finding at that time) and had not changed its pay practices.

Business Takeaway: If your business has been subject to agency action in the past (e.g., audits, investigations, warnings, fines), you understand the strong desire to wrap things up and get back to business. Know that agencies may continue to monitor you long after existing claims are resolved. The result can be additional agency actions and penalties, including a finding of willfulness (and the steep fines that accompany such a finding).