Employer Not Automatically Liable for Supervisor’s Safety Violations
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a long-standing position of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) that an employer can be held responsible for safety violations that an employee in a supervisory position commits. The ruling in ComTran Grp. Inc. v. DOL, 11th Cir., No. 12-10275 stated that it isn't "appropriate to impute a supervisor's knowledge of his own violative conduct to his employer."
"In a twist on the well-established rule that knowledge may be imputed to the employer when one or more of its supervisors has knowledge of an employee's violative conduct, the court explained that such reasoning should not be extended when the misconduct, unforeseeable to the employer, is carried out by a supervisor, as was the case in ComTran," explained Labor and Employment Partner Howard Sokol.