Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 16. Labor and Employment
Agency 25. Safety and Health Codes Board
Chapter 60. Administrative Regulation for the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Program
1/17/2020

16VAC25-60-340. Settlement.

A. Settlement negotiations may be held for the purpose of resolving any dispute regarding an inspection, citation, order of abatement, proposed penalty, or any other matter involving potential litigation. Settlement is encouraged at any stage of a proceeding until foreclosed by an order becoming final. It is the policy of the commissioner that the primary goal of all occupational safety and health activity is the protection of worker safety, health and welfare; all settlements shall be guided by this policy.

B. Settlement negotiations will ordinarily take place in the medium of an informal conference. Employees shall be given notice of scheduled settlement discussions and shall be given opportunity to participate in the manner provided for in 16VAC25-60-330 E.

C. Where a settlement with the employer is reached before the 15th working day after receipt of a citation, order of abatement, or proposed civil penalty, and no notice of contest has been filed, the commissioner shall forthwith prepare a settlement agreement noting any changes to the citation, order of abatement, or proposed civil penalty, as agreed. The agreement shall contain a statement to the following effect: " As part of the written agreement, the employer has waived his right to file a notice of contest to this order. This agreement shall not be construed as an admission by the employer of civil liability for any violation alleged by the commissioner."

D. Following receipt of an employer's timely notice of contest, the commissioner will immediately notify the appropriate Commonwealth's Attorney and may delay the initiation of judicial proceedings until settlement opportunities have been exhausted.

1. During this period, the commissioner may agree to amend the citation, order of abatement, or proposed civil penalty. The settlement agreement shall contain a statement to the following effect: " The employer, by his signature below, agrees to withdraw his notice of contest filed in this matter and not to contest the amended citation. This agreement shall not be construed as an admission by the employer of civil liability for any violation alleged by the commissioner."

2. At the end of this period, if settlement negotiations are not successful, the commissioner will initiate judicial proceedings by causing a bill of complaint to be filed and turning over the contested case to the Commonwealth's Attorney.

E. Employees or their representative have the right to contest abatement orders arising out of settlement negotiations if the notice is timely filed with the commissioner within 15 working days of issuance of the agreement and abatement order. Upon receipt of a timely notice of contest the commissioner will initiate judicial proceedings.

F. After a bill of complaint has been filed, any settlement shall be handled through the appropriate Commonwealth's Attorney and shall be embodied in a proposed order and presented for approval to the court before which the matter is pending. Every such order shall bear the signatures of the parties or their counsel; shall provide for abatement of any violation for which the citation is not vacated; shall provide that the employer's agreement not be construed as an admission of civil liability; and may permit the commissioner, when good cause is shown by the employer, to extend any abatement period contained within the order.

Statutory Authority

§§ 40.1-6 and 40.1-22 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR425-02-95 § 8.2, eff. July 1, 1994; amended, Volume 22, Issue 25, eff. September 21, 2006.

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