TRPWL has reported previously on the politicized atmosphere at Cal/OSHA. The charges revealed in this story from Cal/OSHA Reporter, if borne out, represent an atomic bomb at the department. If you’ve ever wondered whether adult producers can get a fair shake with Cal/OSHA trials, read on…
Administrative law judges [ALJs] for the Cal/OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board say the board’s executive officer, Kari Johnson, is making “substantial” changes to their appeals decisions and also insisting they change their rulings, the law firm representing them says.
CASE, a law firm representing California attorneys, ALJs and hearing officers, filed the Complaint Against State Program Administration (CASPA) with Fed-OSHA in July. The ALJs in question remain unnamed, but have “expressed concern to CASE of what may be an ethical violation,” labor relations representative Monica Miner writes.
She noted that ALJs traditionally have had discretion over their decisions and the board has a right to approve, disapprove or amend them. “However,” she write, “CASE has received information that . . . Johnson is reviewing decisions prior to going to the Board for review and making substantial changes to the proposed decisions.
“In actuality, the Executive Officer is preventing decisions from going forward to the board for approval until the ALJs render the decision that she wants.” — Monica Miner, ALJ rep
These changes, she says, are not merely grammatical or typographical errors. The Executive Officer is now insisting that the ALJs change their rulings and the analysis of their decisions and therefore not providing the ALJs the ability to exercise their judicial discretion.”
The question is whether Ms. Johnson has taken these actions upon herself or is receiving direction from higher ups, and it so from whom.
Miner adds that the law firm tried to contact the board about the matter, but instead heard from the Department of Industrial Relations’ Labor Relations Office, which said that the XO is merely attempting to “improve the quality of writing.” Miner adds, “In actuality, the Executive Officer is preventing decisions from going forward to the board for approval until the ALJs render the decision that she wants.”
The CASPA did not detail which cases were changed or how they were revised. Miner declined to comment when contacted by Cal-OSHA Reporter. CASE requested that Fed-OSHA investigate the board “to ensure that its processes are in conformity” with the federal; Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Cal-OSHA Reporter requested comment from DIR, but as of press time the public information office says it is still reviewing the CASPA.