Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Monday, August 23, 2004

From White Collar Regs -- To White Collar Crime

While everyone expects the white collar regulations to be an election issue, I was not aware of one that may become even more important in the offices of those who qualify for such exemptions. Workers Comp Insider is pointing to growing traction for the Corzine-Kennedy Wrongful Death Accountability Act (S. 1272) a very short revision to OSHA increasing the criminal penalties for violations of OSHA, with the goal of making executives serve long (if not hard) time for safety violations that meet the criminal standard.

One move giving the bill some impetus is support, at least for a modified version, by Senator Enzi (R) of Wyoming. Although he proposes shorter sentences, where the primary difference is the number of years and it is an election year, it does not take much to envision a quick compromise to allow senators who running for re-election to show they are being tough on corporate scofflaws who flout safety rules at the expense of their workers. And in fact, folks who actually do, are neither sympathetic nor deserving of much protection. No mention of how such a revised version would fare in the House, but nevertheless an issue one should watch over the next few months.

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