SCOTUS Declines To Take Case Against OSHA

SCOTUS Declines To Take Case Against OSHA

( – Congress established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1970 to ensure healthy and safe working conditions in various jobs nationwide. The Occupational Safety and Health Act authorizes the agency to set and enforce workplace standards and issue fines if a company violates them. One company penalized by OSHA decided to sue the administration and appealed the matter to the Supreme Court, which refused to hear the legal challenge regarding the regulatory body.

In 2019, OSHA found Allstates Refractory Contractors, a Cincinnati-based Ohio company, had violated workplace safety standards and fined the company nearly $6,000. OSHA cited the business for violating its standards for powered and hand tools and falling-object protection after a catwalk brace fell, injuring a construction worker. The company agreed to pay the penalty but then decided to sue the regulatory body.

In its lawsuit, Allstates claimed that OSHA’s authority, bestowed upon it by Congress, to set “reasonably necessary or appropriate” workplace-safety standards violated Article I of the Constitution. A lower court ruled against the company. Allstates decided to appeal and filed a writ of certiorari asking the Supreme Court to review the lower court’s decision. On Tuesday, July 2, the SCOTUS denied the request.

At least four justices would have had to agree to hear the case for it to have gone on the docket. Conservative Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas wanted to hear the case’s arguments regarding the Constitutional challenge, but it fell short of the required votes. Justice Thomas wrote the dissenting opinion. He said questioning whether the agency’s “broad authority is consistent with our constitutional structure is undeniably important.” He felt the case represented an “excellent vehicle” to test OSHA authority’s constitutionality.

OSHA has previously faced legal challenges to its powers. In 1978 and 2011, courts upheld the agency’s authority to set and enforce safety standards.

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