California Executive Order Extends Certain Cal/OSHA Deadlines for Issuing and Appealing Citations

The COVID-19 pandemic and statewide closures have brought significant disruptions to government functions and the private sector.  Cal/OSHA, the agency responsible for enforcing the state’s occupational safety standards, has likewise been impacted by the closures, which have affected the timing of inspections, issuance of citations, and filing of employer appeals.  As a result, on May 7, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-63-20 (Order), which, among other terms, extends Cal/OSHA’s time to issue certain citations and the employer’s time to file appeals, motions, and petitions for reconsideration.

If the deadlines for the following events would occur from May 7, 2020 through July 6, 2020, the deadline or enforcement period will be extended an additional 60 days:  

  • Cal/OSHA Division of Enforcement’s (Division) time to issue a citation or notice of civil penalty
  • An employer’s right to appeal the citations issued by the Division
  • An employer’s right to appeal a special order or action order by the Division, including abatement periods and reasonableness of the changes required to abate the citations
  • An employer’s right to file an appeal from receipt of the citation or notice of civil penalty issued by the Division
  • An employer’s right to contest the citation, notice of proposed penalty, or abatement period
  • An employer’s right to contest a special order or action order by the Division

Governor Newsom’s Order appears to be designed to provide both the Division and employers reprieve from their standard deadlines due to COVID-19-related disruptions.  Nevertheless, employers should in the first instance plan to file their appeals and other litigation documents in accordance with the ordinary statutory deadlines, as there remain uncertainties regarding the interpretation of the Order and Governor Newsom’s executive authority to override statutory deadlines.  If such challenges are upheld and a court strikes down the Order, this outcome could have severe implications for employers that rely exclusively on the Order in setting their deadlines.  

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.