The U.S. Department of Labor increased penalties and fines against employers/carriers. Specifically, employers/carriers who fail to report first injuries or final payments are now facing an increased fine. Further, employers now face an increased penalty for discrimination.
To quote an e-mail I received this morning from the U.S. DOL:
To implement the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Inflation Adjustment Act), the Department of Labor) has published a department-wide interim final rule (IFR) adjusting its penalties for inflation. The IFR affects the following penalties assessed by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA):
Failure to file first report of injury or filing a false statement or misrepresentation in first report.
Increase from the current maximum of $11,000 to $22,587.
Failure to report termination of payments.
Increase from the current $110 to $275.
Discrimination against employees who claim compensation or testify in a LHWCA proceeding.
Increase from the current minimum of $1,100 to a minimum of $2,259, and increase from the current maximum of $5,500 to a maximum of $11,293.
Additional information about the IFR can be found at the following links:
- Interim Final Rule
- Inflation Adjustment Act Fact Sheet
- Inflation Adjustment Act Frequently Asked Questions
- Inflation Adjustment Act Penalty Chart
Finally, the DOL us accepting comments on the IFR. There is a specific comment-making procedure:
DOL is currently accepting comments on this IFR. If you have comments, please go to www.regulations.gov and search “Department of Labor Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Catch-Up Adjustments” (in quotes” for specific information regarding how to submit them. You may also submit comments by mail at the address listed in the IFR. Please do not submit the comments directly to OWCP or the Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation as this is a department-wide IFR. Comments must be submitted by August 15, 2016.
This is a pretty big deal–particularly the increase in the penalty for failing to report an injury. I expect to provide more information about the increased penalties in the coming months.