b'The U.S. Supreme Court will be considering the Safety & Employmenteconomic strike damage issue. The issue is the potential for liability by the union in the case of Law Tidbits extreme economic damage to an employer during a strike. Gary Auman,DOL is taking on the independent contractorMICA Legal Counselissue. In other words, when is a contractor truly an independent contractor versus when theThe DOL and the FTC are both looking at non- employees of the independent contractor will compete agreements with an eye towards makingbe considered employees of the principle? them illegal. The position of the FTC is that con-compete agreements hinder the ability ofemployees to freely switch jobs, which is notCounsel reported that the fines charged by most good for employment or the economy. The FTCof the DOL agencies have gone up by approxi-has indicated that it will proposing a rule makingmately 7.7%. Maximum OSHA fines for a seri-restrictive non-compete agreements a violation ofous and other than serious have gone up to an administrative rule. The DOL appears to be$15,625 while maximum OSHA fines for willful headed in the same direction. and repeat violations have gone up to $156,259. On January 26, 2023, OSHA announced enforce-On January 17, 2023, it was reported that thement guidance to make enforcement efforts more Biden OSHA is planning to propose a rule thateffective. To accomplish this OSHA has directed will reinstate the ability of organized labor toregional and area directors to begin citingparticipate in ongoing OSHA inspections even ifemployers with violations of standards governing the union does not represent the employees andexposure to significant hazards, such as fall pro-even if the contractor being inspected is a non- tection, lockout/tagout, permit required confined union contractor. There is an indication is that thespace and several others to cite employersnew rule will be proposed in May. instance by instance. In other words, citeemployers for each instance of a violations. So, if In the spring of 2022 OSHA proposed a newa compliance officer on a jobsite inspectionelectronic OSHA reporting rule to require anyobserves five employees working without fall employer with 100 or more employees to protection the compliance officer may cite the electronically file its OSHA 300A forms and itsemployer for five separate serious violations of OSHA 300 and 301 forms. This rule will apply tothe fall protection standard. employers in high hazard industries, whichincludes all construction related industries as well as most manufacturers. This is another shot at the OSHA shame rule that was attempted during the Obama administration. Remember this information will be available to anyone who would want to review it. This could (if it is final-ized as predicted) make all of your accidents and injuries as well as other information obtained during your accident investigation open to public scrutiny. President Biden signed the Speak Out Act onDecember 7, 2022. This law is intended to assist individuals in the filing of sexual harassmentactions as well as other claims of wrongs com-mitted by employers against individuals.11'