New York State Electric & Gas Corp. v. Secretary of Labor

88 F.3d 98 (1996)

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New York State Electric & Gas Corp. v. Secretary of Labor

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
88 F.3d 98 (1996)

Facts

Jim Webb and Raymond Price, employees of the New York State Electric & Gas Corporation (NYSEG) (plaintiff), were working on a section of newly laid gas pipe in an intersection when William Marzeski, a compliance officer for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, happened to pass by. Marzeski observed that Price, who was operating a jackhammer, was not wearing safety goggles or steel-toed boots. Webb, the crew leader, agreed that Price should have been using protective gear. Price retrieved those items from the NYSEG’s truck and resumed his work. Marzeski filed a report, and the United States secretary of labor (secretary) (defendant) cited the NYSEG for two safety violations. The NYSEG asserted the defense of unpreventable employee misconduct. The secretary argued that the NYSEG had constructive knowledge of Price’s violative conduct based, in part, on the inadequacy of the NYSEG’s safety policies. The administrative-law judge ruled in favor of the secretary, and the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (commission) affirmed. The NYSEG sought judicial review, arguing that the commission improperly assigned the burden of proof regarding the adequacy of the NYSEG’s safety policy to the NYSEG.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cardamone, J.)

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