In Connecticut, COVID-Related Worker Complaints are Many, but Feds Punish Few Employers

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Professor James Brudney shared his expert opinion on COVID-related health and safety complaints to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration with Connecticut Mirror. 

“The federal agency charged with enforcing workplace health and safety has failed to rise to the occasion,” said James Brudney, a professor of labor and employment law at Fordham University School of Law.

Brudney said that when the agency was created in 1970, it had the authority to issue emergency temporary standards to protect employees against “grave danger from exposure to substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful or from new hazards.” OSHA has issued nine emergency protective standards to address new dangers in the workplace over the years but has not done so for the pandemic.

Instead, OSHA is handling COVID-related complaints under its “general duty clause.” But even by that standard, Brudney said, “the agency’s enforcement record is stunningly inadequate.”

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