California Supreme Court: Civil Penalties for Employers Accused of Violating California’s Occupational Safety and Health Act

On Feb. 8, 2017, the California Supreme Court ruled that California law allows local prosecutors to pursue civil penalties against employers accused of workplace-safety violations under California’s Occupational Safety and Health Act (Cal OSHA).  Solus Indus. Innovations, LLC v. Superior Court, No. S222314, 2018 WL 771814 (Cal. Feb. 8, 2018).  This means that California employers will be faced with both civil and administrative penalties for violations of workplace safety and health violations.  This is significant, as the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 does not allow civil penalties.  As a result of this novel decision, California employers will be forced to litigate more alleged violations of workplace safety and health standards and regulations.  Like other workplace safety and health issues in the past, other states may follow California and allow civil penalties for workplace safety and health violations.