USPS’s Defenses to OSHA Citation Rejected

work-related injury claim

In Secretary of Labor v. U.S. Postal Service, OSHRC Docket No. 18-0462, an administrative law judge of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission granted summary judgment in favor of the Secretary of Labor, rejecting two affirmative defenses put forth by the U.S. Postal Service to an other-than-serious citation issued by OSHA on February 26, 2018. The citation alleged the USPS issued a suspension to a worker because he reported a work-related injury, which violated the anti-retaliation provisions of OSHA’s regulation for Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. USPS contested the citation and argued that (1) the alleged standard and/or penalties were invalid as beyond OSHA’s authority, and (2) the alleged standard and/or penalties lacked a rational basis and were arbitrary and capricious, because employees already had an exclusive mechanism for reporting retaliation under Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The judge rejected both defenses, holding that Congress did not intend for Section 11(c) of the Act to be the exclusive means for employees to redress retaliatory acts by an employer and that the Secretary did not act arbitrarily and capriciously in promulgating another regulation that proscribes retaliation by employers. For a copy of the OSHRC Order, click here. For more information regarding OSHA’s anti-retaliation regulations, contact Steve O’Day or Vickie Rusek.