Employment-Related Crimes

By Whitlatch, Morgan K.; Klestoff, Alexei | American Criminal Law Review, Summer 2001 | Go to article overview

Employment-Related Crimes


Whitlatch, Morgan K., Klestoff, Alexei, American Criminal Law Review


I. INTRODUCTION

This Article is a survey of the criminal penalties used to protect workers in the areas of occupational safety and employment practices. These penalties are part of larger regulatory measures enacted to ensure worker safety, eliminate labor conditions detrimental to the nation's commerce and the general welfare of workers, and provide labor unions greater protection from corrupt union and management officials. Section II of this Article discusses criminal sanctions relevant to worker safety under the Occupational Safety and Health Act ("OSH Act"),(1) state criminal law, and the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act ("FMSHA").(2) Section III analyzes criminal sanctions applicable to employment practices under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA").(3) Section IV discusses the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA") that prohibits employers from making payments and loans to employees or labor organizations.(4) Finally, Section V reviews [sections] 501(c) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act ("LMRDA"), which prevents appropriations of union funds for non-union purposes.(5)

II. WORKER SAFETY

This Section discusses the criminal laws relevant to worker safety. Part A analyzes the OSH Act(6) by examining two offenses: (1) a willful violation of a specific standard resulting in an employee death and (2) a false representation. In addition, this Section reviews the penalties for these offenses and the degree to which they are enforced. Part B discusses state criminal law and its effectiveness in deterring violations of the OSH Act. Part B also examines current occupational safety and health reform efforts. Part C discusses the FMSHA,(7) including offenses and current reform efforts under the law.

A. Occupational Safety and Health Act

Congress enacted the OSH Act in response to increasing numbers of employee deaths and injuries in the late 1960s.(8) The OSH Act requires employers to furnish their employees with a working environment free from recognized hazards.(9) The statute also requires compliance with specific occupational safety and health rules promulgated by the Secretary of Labor.(10)

While the OSH Act provides for criminal sanctions in three situations, only two have been regularly enforced: (1) when an employer's willful violation of a standard, rule, order, or regulation causes the death of an employee;(11) and (2) when an employer makes a false representation regarding OSH Act compliance.(12) The third situation, criminal sanctions for any person giving advance notice of an inspection,(13) has not been criminally prosecuted.(14) Employers may be subject to civil fines and criminal sanctions for the same violation.(15)

1. Employer's Willful Violation of Standard Causes Death

a. Elements of the Offense

If (i) an employer (ii) willfully violates (iii) a specific standard, rule, order, or regulation, (iv) which causes the death of an employee, criminal sanctions may ensue.(16)

i. Employer

An "employer" is statutorily defined as a "a person engaged in a business affecting commerce who has employees, but does not include the United States (not including the United States Post Office) or any State or political subdivision of a State."(17) Corporate officers in their individual capacities may also be criminally sanctioned under the OSH Act.(18) In the Third, Fifth, and Seventh Circuits, a "mere employee" who is not an officer cannot be liable as an aider and abettor of the employer's criminal liability.(19) The potential liability of a third party or employee, acting in a capacity separate from his or her role as an employee, who aids and abets an employer, has not been resolved.(20)

In multiple employer workplaces, the employer who creates or controls a hazard may be liable to employees of the other employers in that work place. The multi-employer doctrine applies when there are multiple employees in a singular work place. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Employment-Related Crimes
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.