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NLRB and OSHA Announce New MOU to Strengthen Health and Safety Protections for Workers

21 Nov

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Update Applicable to:

All employers

What happened?

On October 31, 2023, National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Jennifer A. Abruzzo and Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at the U.S. Department of Labor Douglas L. Parker executed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen the agencies’ partnership to promote safe and healthy workplaces through protecting worker voice. 

What are the details?

The agreement expands on the historic interagency coordination by enabling to closely collaborate by more broadly sharing information, conducting cross-training for staff at each agency, partnering on investigative efforts, and enforcing anti-retaliation provisions and is part of the NLRB’s interagency coordination initiative to coordinate with other worker protection and consumer protection agencies for more effective and efficient enforcement, minimizing the compliance burden on employers while ensuring full protection for workers.

A similar initiative was taken between the NLRB and the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and the Office of Labor-Management Standards communicated by Vensure here.

The MOU sets forth agreed-upon practices for each agency to provide reciprocal training and education to appropriate personnel from the other agency and supersedes all previous agreements between the agencies.

The agencies also released a resource which provides tools and key references for employers and workers on working collaboratively to create and maintain safe workplaces, including resources on collective bargaining and compliance. 

While the MOU concedes that it does not diminish or otherwise affect the authority of either agency, it does raise concerns about how employers should prepare for individual OSHA and NLRB inspections going forward, particularly where there is overlap between the jurisdiction of each agency, not to mention joint coordinated inspections involving both agencies. 

Best practices

  • Employers should cross-train their personnel on the relevant aspects of OSH Act and NLRA compliance, as referenced in the MOU, so that they are prepared to navigate inspections implicating both regulatory regimes and establish advance protocols to ensure that appropriate representatives are available in the event that an OSHA inspection converts into an NLRB inspection, and vice-versa. 
  • Employers should assume that information provided to one agency is provided to the other and should ensure that management is trained in the anti-retaliation provisions contained in the OSHA and NLRA.

Employers should review additional resources here:

Law Firm Articles: Article 1, Article 2

NLRB Official Publication

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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