Passed in 2015, the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act requires federal agencies to increase penalties for violations of the laws they enforce to maintain their deterrent effect. The Act requires agencies to adopt “catch up” penalties to account for lost time, in some cases decades, since the last adjustments were made and thereafter to annually adjust their penalties for inflation. The first penalty increases are effective August 1, 2016.
US Department of Labor
The US Department of Labor (DOL) has published an interim final rule with the civil penalty increases for violations of the laws enforced by its divisions. The penalty increases for the laws you read most about in our blog are:
|Law||Violation||Old Max||New Max|
|Occupational Health and Safety Act||Serious violation||$7,000||$12,471|
|Occupational Health and Safety Act||Other than serious violation||$7,000||$12,471|
|Occupational Health and Safety Act||Willful or repeated violation||$5,000 to $70,000||$8,908 to $124,709|
|Occupational Health and Safety Act||Failure to correct violation||$7,000||$12,471|
|Occupational Health and Safety Act||Failure to post OSHA poster||$7,000||$12,471|
|Family and Medical Leave Act||Willful failure to post FMLA||$110||$163|
|Fair Labor Standards Act||Repeated or willful violation of the minimum wage and overtime provisions||$1,100||$1,894|
|Fair Labor Standards Act||Child labor violation||$11,000||$12,080|
|Fair Labor Standards Act||Child labor violation resulting in serious injury or death||$50,000||$54,910|
|Fair Labor Standards Act||Child labor – willful or repeated violation resulting in serious injury or death||$100,000||$109,820|
Penalties under Occupational Safety & Health State Plans
There are twenty-two (22) states and U.S. territories that administer their own occupational safety and health programs. State Plans are required to have standards and provide sanctions at least as effective as those set forth in the federal OSH Act. The federal OSHA penalty increases will therefore necessitate an increase in State Plan penalty amounts. State Plans have six months within which to adopt penalty increases. Most states will update their required job safety & health postings to reflect new penalty amounts.