California’s Governor has signed Senate Bill 606 (SB 606), which authorizes Cal/OSHA to issue a citation for egregious violation of an occupational safety or health standard, order, special order, or regulation for each willful violation determined by Cal/OSHA, and count each employee affected by the violation as a separate violation for purposes of the issuance of fines and penalties. This would mean that the maximum penalty would be per violation, per employee.

A violation is deemed egregious under the bill if one or more of the following is true:

  • The employer, intentionally through voluntary action or inaction, made no reasonable effort to eliminate the known violation.
  • The violations resulted in worker fatalities, a worksite catastrophe, or a large number of injuries or illnesses.
  • The violations resulted in persistently high rates of worker injuries or illnesses.
  •  The employer has an extensive history of prior violations of this section of the labor code.
  • The employer has intentionally disregarded their health and safety responsibilities.
  • The employer’s conduct, taken as a whole, amounts to clear bad faith in the performance of their duties to provide occupational safety to their employees.
  • The employer has committed a large number of violations to undermine the effectiveness of any safety and health program that might be in place.

This bill takes effect on January 1, 2022.

Jackson Lewis will continue tracking state legislation that is relevant to employers. If you have questions about the effects of this or other recent legislation contact a Jackson Lewis attorney to discuss.