Last June 47 Cal/OSHA employees—comprising field inspectors and district managers responsible for enforcing workplace health and safety laws in California—sent an open letter to appeals board members protesting actions they claimed inhibited their ability to do their jobs effectively. They copied department heads in their own organization along with members of the California Legislature.
That document helped spark a six-month investigation by SoCal Connected producers and reporters into Cal/OSHA's internal workings while employers who disputed their citations appeared to be enjoying a period of increased lenience from the appeals board.
Now Cal/OSHA is preparing for a rare federal review of how they do business, and the appeals board is going to be the subject of a California Senate labor hearing next month. Just days ago the agency issued a memo effectively blocking its employees from speaking to inquiring legislators. The memo calls into question whether those same 47 employees would be able to complain as openly today as they did six months ago.
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