Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
10/27/2021

Part VIII. Review and Settlement

16VAC25-60-330. Informal conference.

A. An informal conference may be held for the purpose of discussing any issue raised by the inspection, citation, abatement order, proposed penalty, notice of contest, or any other disputed issue.

B. The employer, an employee, or an employee representative may request an informal conference. Neither the conference nor a request for a conference shall stay the running of time allowed for abatement of a cited violation or the time allowed for filing a notice of contest of the citation, abatement period or proposed penalty.

C. The informal conference will be held by the commissioner. However, other personnel of the Department of Labor and Industry, Department of Health, and any other state department or agency may participate as deemed necessary.

D. The time and location of the informal conference shall be at the discretion of the commissioner, except that the conference shall not be held at the employer's work site.

E. An employee representative shall be given the opportunity to participate in a conference requested by the employer. This same right will be extended to the employer when an informal conference is requested by employees. It is the duty of the employer, if he has requested a conference, to notify the employees by the means described in 16VAC25-60-40 as soon as the time and place of the conference have been established. Upon granting an employee request for a conference, the commissioner is responsible for notifying the employer. The commissioner, at his discretion, may conduct separate portions of the conference with the employer and employee representative.

F. During or following the conference the commissioner may affirm or amend the citations, penalties, or abatement period if the order has not become final. The commissioner shall notify the employer in writing of his decision. The employer shall notify employees of this decision in the manner set forth in 16VAC25-60-40.

G. The failure to request an informal conference before the expiration of 15 working days does not preclude settlement at a later stage of the proceedings if a notice of contest has been timely filed.

Statutory Authority

§ 40.1-22(5) of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR425-02-95 § 8.1, eff. July 1, 1994.

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, Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 25, eff. September 21, 2006.

Website addresses provided in the Virginia Administrative Code to documents incorporated by reference are for the reader's convenience only, may not necessarily be active or current, and should not be relied upon. To ensure the information incorporated by reference is accurate, the reader is encouraged to use the source document described in the regulation.

As a service to the public, the Virginia Administrative Code is provided online by the Virginia General Assembly. We are unable to answer legal questions or respond to requests for legal advice, including application of law to specific fact. To understand and protect your legal rights, you should consult an attorney.