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Harsher prosecutions on the way for workplace safety violators

Two departments of the federal government have announced their intention to prosecute violations of workplace safety in California and around the country with much greater harshness. This new emphasis on prosecution will be the strongest in cases where a worker has been injured, sickened or killed.

The Department of Justice and Department of Labor have signed a memorandum of understanding describing their intention to improve cooperation between the two agencies. Prosecutors working for the Department of Justice will be encouraged to not treat workplace safety violations as simple, isolated misdemeanors. Instead, they will be asked to consider the totality of the case and file whatever secondary charges may be feasible. Offering false testimony, committing conspiracy to conceal wrongdoing, and other infractions associated with operating an unsafe workplace will increasingly be prosecuted.

Cases with serious environmental effects are also mentioned for new emphasis. Many of the proposed new prosecutions will be carried out under the aegis of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice's Environment and Natural Resources Division.

Prosecutions of white-collar crimes have grown increasingly harsh in recent years. A criminal conviction has the potential to seriously upset someone's life, as well as inflicting severe penalties such as imprisonment or heavy fines. People who are facing these types of criminal charges should think about contacting a lawyer and planning their defense strategy to be used before or at trial. An intelligent approach to criminal defense, especially when executed in a thorough and precise manner, can make a real difference in how the matter unfolds.

Article Source Web Link: National Law Review, "US Departments of Justice and Labor To Increase Criminal Prosecutions of Worker Safety Laws", Alex M. Arensberg, Dec. 22, 2015

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