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Important News from OSHA and the Social Security Administration

Important News from OSHA and the Social Security Administration

Date Published: 2011-04-26
Author: Christina Harris Schwinn

OSHA’S Fall Protection Directive Affects Residential Construction Contractors

To the chagrin of the National Roofing Contractors Association, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rejected its challenge to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (“OSHA”) December 2010 Directive number STD 03-11-002 (“Directive”) applying its Fall Protection Standard[1] to residential construction. OSHA’s Directive takes effect on June 16, 2011.

The new Directive requires all residential construction employers to comply with 29 C.F.R. 1926 501(b)(13). In those cases where an employer can demonstrate that compliance with fall protection is not feasible, the employer can still provide alternative fall protection provided for in 29 C.F.R. 1926 501(b)(13).

Further information regarding OSHA’s Directive can be found on OSHA’s website at www.osha.gov.

No Match Letters Are Back

The No Match Letter program is not new. In 2007, final regulations were set to go into effect which provided guidance regarding what an employer was required to do if it received a No Match Letter from the Social Security Administration (“SSA”). Prior to the effective date of the Department of Homeland Security’s regulation, a lawsuit was filed and a judge entered an order enjoining any further action under the regulation. In 2009, the No Match Letter regulation was rescinded.

Effective March 22, 2011, the SSA resumed sending No Match Letters to employers. The SSA sends a No Match Letter to an employer when the information that SSA has in its database does not match employee information, i.e. name and Social Security number being submitted by the employer. As a result of the regulation being rescinded, employers are faced with having to respond to the SSA’s No Match Letter without any proper guidance regarding how, to whom, and when.

Any employer receiving a No Match Letter should take it seriously, take steps to resolve the matter by speaking to the affected employee, provide the employee with a copy of the No Match Letter, and respond to the SSA within a reasonable period of time. Further, to better protect itself, an employer receiving a No Match Letter is well advised to contact competent employment counsel to avoid unwittingly inviting a claim of national origin discrimination.

A note to the reader: This article is intended to provide general information and is not intended to be a substitute for competent legal advice. Competent legal counsel should be consulted if you have questions regarding compliance with the law.

Questions regarding the content of this column or past columns or suggestions for future columns may be e-mailed to Christina Harris Schwinn at christinaschwinn@paveselaw.com. To view past columns written by Ms. Schwinn please visit the firm’s website at www.paveselaw.com. Ms. Schwinn is a partner and an experienced employment and real estate attorney with the Pavese Law Firm, 1833 Hendry Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901; Telephone: (239) 336-6228; Telecopier: (239) 332-2243.

[1] 29 C.F.R. 1926 Support M – Fall Protection.