Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 40.1. Labor and Employment
Chapter 3. Protection of Employees
11/29/2022

Article 5. Safety Provisions.

§ 40.1-41. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1979, c. 354.

§ 40.1-44. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1973, c. 425.

§ 40.1-44.1. Rules and regulations relating to tramways and other hauling and lifting devices.

(a) The Safety and Health Codes Board in the adoption of rules and regulations under this title shall adopt such reasonable rules and regulations as are designed to protect the safety and health of the employees engaged in the construction, maintenance, repair and operation of tramways or any other hauling or lifting device used as a public or employee conveyance, and to protect the safety and health of the public or the employees when using such conveyance in, about, or in connection with recreational areas, excluding vehicular travel covered by ICC, SCC, motor vehicle codes and § 36-98.3.

(b) The rules and regulations adopted by the Safety and Health Codes Board pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be enforced as specified in §§ 40.1-49.3 through 40.1-49.7.

1972, c. 602; 1973, c. 425; 1979, c. 406.

§ 40.1-45. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1979, c. 354.

§ 40.1-49. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1973, c. 425.

§ 40.1-49.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1976, c. 607.

§ 40.1-49.2. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1979, c. 354.

§ 40.1-49.3. Definitions.

For the purposes of §§ 40.1-49.4, 40.1-49.5, 40.1-49.6, 40.1-49.7, and 40.1-51.1 through 40.1-51.3 the following terms shall have the following meanings:

"Commission" means the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission.

"Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Labor and Industry. Except where the context clearly indicates the contrary, any reference to Commissioner shall include his authorized representatives.

"Employee" means an individual who is employed by an employer.

"Employer" means any person that (i) is engaged in business or engages an individual to perform domestic service and (ii) has employees. "Employer" does not include the United States.

"Occupational safety and health standard" means a standard which requires conditions, or the adoption or use of one or more practices, means, methods, operations, or processes, reasonably necessary or appropriate to provide safe or healthful employment and places of employment.

"Serious violation" means a violation deemed to exist in a place of employment if there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a condition which exists, or from one or more practices, means, methods, operations, or processes which have been adopted or are in use, in such place of employment unless the employer did not, and could not with the exercise of reasonable diligence, know of the presence of the violation.

"Person" means one or more individuals, partnerships, associations, corporations, business trusts, legal representatives, or any organized group of persons.

"Circuit court" means the circuit court of the city or county wherein the violation of this title or any standard, rule or regulation issued pursuant thereto is alleged to have occurred. Venue shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of §§ 8.01-257 through 8.01-267.

1979, c. 354; 1992, c. 777; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 509, 513.

§ 40.1-49.4. Enforcement of this title and standards, rules or regulations for safety and health; orders of Commissioner; proceedings in circuit court; injunctions; penalties.

A. 1. If the Commissioner has reasonable cause to believe that an employer has violated any safety or health provision of Title 40.1 or any standard, rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, he shall with reasonable promptness issue a citation to the employer. Each citation shall be in writing and shall describe with particularity the nature of the violation or violations, including a reference to the provision of this title or the appropriate standards, rules or regulations adopted pursuant thereto, and shall include an order of abatement fixing a reasonable time for abatement of each violation.

2. The Commissioner may prescribe procedures for calling to the employer's attention de minimis violations which have no direct or immediate relationship to safety and health.

3. No citation may be issued under this section after the expiration of six months following the occurrence of any alleged violation.

4. (a) The Commissioner shall have the authority to propose civil penalties for cited violations in accordance with subsections G, H, I, and J of this section. In determining the amount of any proposed penalty he shall give due consideration to the appropriateness of the penalty with respect to the size of the business of the employer being charged, the gravity of the violation, the good faith of the employer, and the history of previous violations. In addition, the Commissioner shall have authority to assess interest on all past-due penalties and administrative costs incurred in the collection of penalties for such violations consistent with § 2.2-4805.

(b) After, or concurrent with, the issuance of a citation and order of abatement, and within a reasonable time after the termination of an inspection or investigation, the Commissioner shall notify the employer by certified mail or by personal service of the proposed penalty or that no penalty is being proposed. The proposed penalty shall be deemed to be the final order of the Commissioner and not subject to review by any court or agency unless, within 15 working days from the date of receipt of such notice, the employer notifies the Commissioner in writing that he intends to contest the citation, order of abatement or the proposed penalty or the employee or representative of employees has filed a notice in accordance with subsection B of this section and any such notice of proposed penalty, citation or order of abatement shall so state.

B. Any employee or representative of employees of an employer to whom a citation and order of abatement has been issued may, within 15 working days from the time of the receipt of the citation and order of abatement by the employer, notify the Commissioner, in writing, that they wish to contest the abatement time before the circuit court.

C. If the Commissioner has reasonable cause to believe that an employer has failed to abate a violation for which a citation has been issued within the time period permitted for its abatement, which time shall not begin to run until the entry of a final order in the case of any contest as provided in subsection E of this section initiated by the employer in good faith and not solely for delay or avoidance of penalties, a citation for failure to abate will be issued to the employer in the same manner as prescribed by subsection A of this section. In addition, the Commissioner shall notify the employer by certified mail or by personal service of such failure and of the penalty proposed to be assessed by reason of such failure. If, within 15 working days from the date of receipt of the notice of the proposed penalty, the employer fails to notify the Commissioner that he intends to contest the citation or proposed assessment of penalty, the citation and assessment as proposed shall be deemed a final order of the Commissioner and not subject to review by any court or agency.

D. Civil penalties owed under this section shall be paid to the Commissioner for deposit into the general fund of the Treasurer of the Commonwealth. The Commissioner shall prescribe procedures for the payment of proposed assessments of penalties which are not contested by employers. Such procedures shall include provisions for an employer to consent to abatement of the alleged violation and pay a proposed penalty or a negotiated sum in lieu of such penalty without admission of any civil liability arising from such alleged violation.

Final orders of the Commissioner or the circuit courts may be recorded, enforced and satisfied as orders or decrees of a circuit court upon certification of such orders by the Commissioner or the court as appropriate.

E. Upon receipt of a notice of contest of a citation, proposed penalty, order of abatement or abatement time pursuant to subdivision A 4 (b), subsection B or C of this section, the Commissioner shall immediately notify the attorney for the Commonwealth for the jurisdiction wherein the violation is alleged to have occurred and shall file a civil action with the circuit court. Upon issuance and service of process, the circuit court shall promptly set the matter for hearing without a jury. The circuit court shall thereafter issue a written order, based on findings of fact and conclusions of law, affirming, modifying or vacating the Commissioner's citation or proposed penalty, or directing other appropriate relief, and such order shall become final 21 days after its issuance. The circuit court shall provide affected employees or their representatives and employers an opportunity to participate as parties to hearings under this subsection.

F. 1. In addition to the remedies set forth above, the Commissioner may file a civil action with the clerk of the circuit court having equity jurisdiction over the employer or the place of employment involved asking the court to temporarily or permanently enjoin any conditions or practices in any place of employment which are such that a danger exists which could reasonably be expected to cause death or serious physical harm immediately or before the imminence of such danger can be eliminated through the enforcement procedures otherwise provided by this title. Any order issued under this section may require such steps to be taken as may be necessary to avoid, correct or remove such imminent danger and prohibit the employment or presence of any individual in locations or under conditions where such imminent danger exists, except individuals whose presence is necessary to avoid, correct or remove such imminent danger or to maintain the capacity of a continuous process operation to resume normal operations without a complete cessation of operations, or where a cessation of operations is necessary, to permit such to be accomplished in a safe and orderly manner. No order issued without prior notice to the employer shall be effective for more than five working days. Whenever and as soon as the Commissioner concludes that conditions or practices described in this subsection exist in any place of employment and that judicial relief shall be sought, he shall immediately inform the affected employer and employees of such proposed course of action.

2. Any court described in this section shall also have jurisdiction, upon petition of the Commissioner or his authorized representative, to enjoin any violations of this title or the standards, rules or regulations promulgated thereunder.

3. If the Commissioner arbitrarily or capriciously fails to seek relief under subdivision 1 of this subsection, any employee who may be injured by reason of such failure, or the representative of such employee, may bring an action against the Commissioner in a circuit court of competent jurisdiction for a writ of mandamus to compel the Commissioner to seek such an order and for such further relief as may be appropriate.

G. Any employer who has received a citation for a violation of any safety or health provision of this title or any standard, rule or regulation promulgated pursuant thereto and such violation is specifically determined not to be of a serious nature may be assessed a civil penalty of up to $12,471, as such amount may be adjusted as provided in subsection P, for each such violation.

H. Any employer who has received a citation for a violation of any safety or health provision of this title or any standard, rule or regulation promulgated pursuant thereto and such violation is determined to be a serious violation shall be assessed a civil penalty of up to $12,471, as such amount may be adjusted as provided in subsection P, for each such violation.

I. Any employer who fails to abate a violation for which a citation has been issued within the period permitted for its abatement (which period shall not begin to run until the entry of the final order of the circuit court) may be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $12,471, as such amount may be adjusted as provided in subsection P, for each day during which such violation continues.

J. Any employer who willfully or repeatedly violates any safety or health provision of this title or any standard, rule or regulation promulgated pursuant thereto may be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $124,709, as such amount may be adjusted as provided in subsection P, for each such violation.

K. Any employer who willfully violates any safety or health provisions of this title or standards, rules or regulations adopted pursuant thereto, and that violation causes death to any employee, shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than $70,000 or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment. If the conviction is for a violation committed after a first conviction of such person, punishment shall be a fine of not more than $140,000 or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

L. In any proceeding before a judge of a circuit court parties may obtain discovery by the methods provided for in the Rules of Supreme Court of Virginia.

M. No fees or costs shall be charged the Commonwealth by a court or any officer for or in connection with the filing of the complaint, pleadings, or other papers in any action authorized by this section or § 40.1-49.5.

N. Every official act of the circuit court shall be entered of record and all hearings and records shall be open to the public, except any information subject to protection under the provisions of § 40.1-51.4:1.

O. The provisions of Chapter 30 (§ 59.1-406 et seq.) of Title 59.1 shall be considered safety and health standards of the Commonwealth and enforced as to employers pursuant to this section by the Commissioner of Labor and Industry.

P. Beginning in 2018, the Commissioner annually shall adjust the maximum civil penalties stated in subsections G through J each year by the percentage increase, if any, in the United States Average Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U), as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor, from its monthly average for the previous calendar year. The amount of each adjustment to the maximum civil penalties shall be rounded to the nearest whole dollar. The adjustments to the maximum civil penalties shall be effective on each August 1. If the CPI-U is discontinued or revised, such other historical index or computation approved by the Commissioner shall be used for purposes of this section that would obtain substantially the same result as would have been obtained if the CPI-U had not been discontinued or revised.

1979, c. 354; 1982, c. 412; 1989, c. 341; 1991, c. 153; 1992, c. 777; 2005, c. 681; 2017, cc. 221, 263.

§ 40.1-49.5. Appeals to Court of Appeals.

Appeals shall lie from the order of the circuit court to the Court of Appeals in a manner provided by § 17.1-405 and the rules of the Supreme Court.

1979, c. 354; 1992, c. 777; 1993, c. 526.

§ 40.1-49.6. Same; attorneys for Commonwealth.

A. In any proceeding pursuant to the enforcement of the safety and health provisions of Title 40.1, the attorneys for the Commonwealth are hereby directed to appear and represent the Commonwealth before the circuit court in any civil or criminal matter involving any violation of such provisions in their respective jurisdictions.

B. The Office of the Attorney General shall provide one or more assistants who will be available to consult with and assist any attorney for the Commonwealth or his assistant in the preparation of any prosecution for violations of the occupational safety and health laws, standards, rules or regulations of the Commonwealth in order to establish uniform guidelines of prosecutorial and settlement policies and procedures in such cases.

1979, c. 354; 1992, c. 777.

§ 40.1-49.7. Same; publication of orders.

The Commissioner of Labor shall be responsible for the printing, maintenance, publication and distribution of all final orders of the circuit courts. Every attorney for the Commonwealth's office shall receive at least one copy of each such order.

1979, c. 354; 1992, c. 777.

§ 40.1-49.8. Inspections of workplace.

In order to carry out the purposes of the occupational safety and health laws of the Commonwealth and any such rules, regulations, or standards adopted in pursuance of such laws, the Commissioner, upon representing appropriate credentials to the owner, operator, or agent in charge, is authorized, with the consent of the owner, operator, or agent in charge of such workplace as described in subdivision 1, or with an appropriate order or warrant:

1. To enter without delay and at reasonable times any factory, plant, establishment, construction site, or other area, workplace, or environment where work is performed, including any place where an individual is engaged to perform domestic service, by an employee of an employer; and

2. To inspect, investigate, and take samples during regular working hours and at other reasonable times, and within reasonable limits and in a reasonable manner, any such place of employment and all pertinent conditions, structures, machines, apparatus, devices, equipment, and materials therein, and to question privately any such employer, owner, operator, agent, or employee.

1979, c. 533; 1987, c. 643; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 509, 513.

§ 40.1-49.9. Issuance of warrant.

Administrative search warrants for inspections of workplaces, based upon a petition demonstrating probable cause and supported by an affidavit, may be issued by any judge having authority to issue criminal warrants whose territorial jurisdiction encompasses the workplace to be inspected or entered, if he is satisfied from the petition and affidavit that there is reasonable and probable cause for the issuance of an administrative search warrant. No administrative search warrant shall be issued pursuant to this chapter except upon probable cause, supported by affidavit, particularly describing the place, things or persons to be inspected or tested and the purpose for which the inspection, testing or collection of samples for testing is to be made. Probable cause shall be deemed to exist if either (i) reasonable legislative or administrative standards for conducting such inspection, testing or collection of samples for testing are satisfied with respect to the particular place, thing, or person, or (ii) there is cause to believe that there is a condition, object, activity, or circumstance which legally justifies such inspection, testing or collection of samples for testing. The supporting affidavit shall contain either a statement that consent to inspect, test or collect samples for testing has been sought and refused or facts or circumstances reasonably justifying the failure to seek such consent in order to enforce effectively the occupational safety and health laws, regulations or standards of the Commonwealth which authorize such inspection, testing or collection of samples for testing. In the case of an administrative search warrant based on legislative or administrative standards for selecting workplaces for inspection, the affidavit shall contain factual allegations sufficient to justify an independent determination by the judge that the inspection program is based on reasonable standards and that the standards are being applied to a particular workplace in a neutral and fair manner. For example, if a selection is based on a particular industry's high hazard ranking, the affidavit shall disclose the method used to establish that ranking, the numerical basis for that ranking, and the relevant inspection history of the workplace to be inspected and the status of all other workplaces within the same territorial region which are subject to inspection pursuant to the legislative or administrative standards used by the Commissioner. The affidavit shall not be required to disclose the actual schedule for inspections or the underlying data on which the statistics were based, provided that such statistics are derived from reliable, neutral third parties. The issuing judge may examine the affiant under oath or affirmation to verify the accuracy of any matter in the affidavit. After issuing a warrant under this section, the judge shall file the affidavit in the manner prescribed by § 19.2-54.

1987, c. 643; 2014, c. 354.

§ 40.1-49.10. Duration of warrant.

Any administrative search warrant issued shall be effective for the time specified therein, but not for a period of more than fifteen days, unless extended or renewed by the judicial officer who signed and issued the original warrant. The warrant shall be executed and shall be returned to the clerk of the circuit court of the city or county wherein the inspection was made within the time specified in the warrant or within the extended or renewed time. The return shall list any records removed or samples taken pursuant to the warrant. After the expiration of such time, the warrant, unless executed, shall be void.

1987, c. 643; 2014, c. 354.

§ 40.1-49.11. Conduct of inspection, testing, or collection of samples for analysis.

No warrant shall be executed in the absence of the owner, operator or agent in charge of the particular place, things or persons unless specifically authorized by the issuing judicial officer upon showing that such authority is reasonably necessary to effect the purposes of a law or regulation being enforced. An entry pursuant to this warrant shall not be made forcibly, except that the issuing officer may expressly authorize a forcible entry (i) where facts are shown sufficient to create a reasonable suspicion of an immediate threat to an employee's health or safety, or (ii) where facts are shown establishing that reasonable attempts to serve a previous warrant have been unsuccessful. If forcible entry is authorized, the warrant shall be issued jointly to the Commissioner and to a law-enforcement officer who shall accompany the Commissioner's representative during the execution.

1987, c. 643.

§ 40.1-49.12. Review by courts.

A. No court of the Commonwealth shall have jurisdiction to hear a challenge to the warrant prior to its return, except as a defense in a contempt proceeding, unless the owner or custodian of the place to be inspected makes by affidavit a substantial preliminary showing accompanied by an offer of proof that (i) a false statement, knowingly and intentionally, or with reckless disregard for the truth, was included by the affiant in his affidavit for the administrative search warrant and (ii) the false statement was necessary to the finding of probable cause. The court shall conduct such expeditious in camera review as the court may deem appropriate.

B. After the warrant has been executed and returned, the validity of the warrant may be reviewed either as a defense to any citation issued by the Commissioner or otherwise by declaratory judgment action brought in a circuit court. In any such action, the review shall be confined to the face of the warrant and affidavits and supporting materials presented to the issuing judge unless the employer whose workplace has been inspected makes by affidavit a substantial showing accompanied by an offer of proof that (i) a false statement, knowingly and intentionally, or with reckless disregard for the truth, was made in support of the warrant and (ii) the false statement was necessary to the finding of probable cause. The reviewing court shall not conduct a de novo determination of probable cause, but only determine whether there is substantial evidence in the record supporting the decision to issue the warrant.

1987, c. 643; 2014, c. 354.

§ 40.1-49.13. Voluntary Protection Program.

A. As used in this section:

"Model system" means an exemplary, voluntarily implemented worker safety and health management system that (i) implements comprehensive safety and health programs that exceed basic compliance with occupational safety and health laws and regulations and (ii) meets the VPP standards adopted by the Safety and Health Codes Board pursuant to subsection B.

"Voluntary Protection Program" or "VPP" means a program under which the Commissioner recognizes and partners with workplaces in which a model system has been implemented.

B. The Safety and Health Codes Board shall adopt definitions, rules, regulations, and standards necessary for the operation of the Voluntary Protection Program in a manner that will promote safe and healthy workplaces throughout the Commonwealth. The standards for the VPP shall include the following requirements for VPP participation:

1. Upper management leadership and active and meaningful employee involvement;

2. Systematic assessment of occupational hazards;

3. Comprehensive hazard prevention, mitigation, and control programs;

4. Employee safety and health training; and

5. Safety and health program evaluation.

C. Applications for participation in the VPP shall be submitted by the workplace's management. Applications shall include documentation establishing to the satisfaction of the Commissioner that the employer meets all standards for VPP participation.

D. The Department shall provide for onsite evaluations by VPP evaluation teams of each workplace that has applied to participate in the VPP to determine that the applicant's workplace complies with the standards for VPP participation.

E. A workplace's continued participation in the VPP shall be conditioned on compliance with the standards for VPP participation, as determined by periodic onsite evaluations by VPP evaluation teams.

F. During periods in which a workplace is a participant in the VPP, the workplace shall be exempt from inspections or investigations under § 40.1-49.4; however, this exception shall not apply to inspections or investigations of the workplace arising from complaints, referrals, fatalities, catastrophes, nonfatal accidents, or significant toxic chemical releases.

2015, cc. 20, 339.

§ 40.1-50. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1985, c. 449.

§ 40.1-51. State Health Commissioner to provide advice and aid; rules and regulations.

A. The State Health Commissioner shall be responsible for advising and providing technical aid to the Commissioner on matters pertaining to occupational health on request.

B. The Department of Labor and Industry shall be responsible for drafting and submitting to the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board for adoption rules and regulations pertaining to control measures to protect the health of workers. In formulating rules and regulations pertaining to health, the Department of Labor and Industry shall request the advice and technical aid of the Department of Health.

Code 1950, § 40-62.2; 1950, p. 636; 1970, c. 321; 1972, c. 567; 1985, c. 449; 2003, c. 445.

§ 40.1-51.1. Duties of employers.

A. It shall be the duty of every employer to furnish to each of his employees safe employment and a place of employment that is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees and to comply with all applicable occupational safety and health rules and regulations promulgated under this title.

B. Every employer shall provide to employees, by such suitable means as shall be prescribed in rules and regulations of the Safety and Health Codes Board, information regarding their exposure to toxic materials or harmful physical agents and prompt information when they are exposed to concentration or levels of toxic materials or harmful physical agents in excess of those prescribed by the applicable safety and health standards and shall provide employees or their representatives with the opportunity to observe monitoring or measuring of exposures. Every employer shall also inform any employee who is being exposed of the corrective action being taken and shall provide former employees with access to information about their exposure to toxic materials or harmful physical agents.

C. Every employer cited for a violation of any safety and health provisions of this title or standards, rules, and regulations promulgated thereunder shall post a copy of such citation at the site of the violations so noted as prescribed in the rules and regulations of the Safety and Health Codes Board.

D. Every employer shall report to the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry within eight hours any work-related incident resulting in a fatality or within 24 hours any work-related incident resulting in (i) the inpatient hospitalization of one or more persons, (ii) an amputation, or (iii) the loss of an eye, as prescribed in the rules and regulations of the Safety and Health Codes Board.

E. Every employer, through posting of notices or other appropriate means, shall keep his employees informed of their rights and responsibilities under this title and of specific safety and health standards applicable to his business establishment.

F. An employer representative shall be given the opportunity to accompany the safety and health inspectors on safety or health inspections.

G. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of the Commissioner pursuant to § 40.1-6 or the Board pursuant to § 40.1-22 to promulgate necessary rules and regulations to protect and promote the safety and health of employees.

1972, c. 602; 1973, c. 425; 1976, c. 607; 1979, c. 354; 1995, c. 373; 2015, c. 270; 2016, c. 336.

§ 40.1-51.1:1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1979, c. 354.

§ 40.1-51.2. Rights and duties of employees.

(a) It shall be the duty of each employee to comply with all occupational safety and health rules and regulations issued pursuant to this chapter and any orders issued thereunder which are applicable to his own action and conduct.

(b) Employees or their representatives may bring to the attention of their employer any hazardous conditions that exist or bring the matter to the attention of the Commissioner or his authorized representative, without first bringing the matter to the attention of their employer. Upon receipt of any complaint of hazardous conditions, the Commissioner or his authorized representative shall cause an inspection to be made as soon as practicable. Within two working days after making the oral complaint the employee or the employee representative shall file a written complaint with the Commissioner on a form prescribed by the Commissioner, if at that time, the Commissioner or his authorized representative has not caused the hazardous condition to be corrected. A copy of such written complaint shall be made available to the employer by the Commissioner at the time of such inspection. The name or names of individuals bringing such matters to the attention of the Commissioner shall be held in confidence upon request of such individuals.

(c) [Repealed.]

(d) A representative of the employees selected by the employees shall be given an opportunity to accompany the Commissioner or his authorized representative during the physical inspection of the work place for the purpose of aiding such inspection. Where there is no authorized employee representative, the Commissioner or his authorized representative shall consult with a reasonable number of employees concerning matters of health and safety at the work place. No person shall discharge or in any manner discriminate against an employee representative for his participation in any safety and health inspection.

(e) The employer and the complaining employee, employees or employee representative shall be notified in writing by the Commissioner or his authorized representative of any decision concerning a complaint, of the reasons for such decision and of the rights of the parties to redress pursuant to § 40.1-49.4 of the Code.

1972, c. 602; 1973, c. 425; 1976, c. 607.

§ 40.1-51.2:1. Discrimination against employee for exercising rights prohibited.

No person shall discharge or in any way discriminate against an employee because the employee has filed a safety or health complaint or has testified or otherwise acted to exercise rights under the safety and health provisions of this title for themselves or others.

1979, c. 354.

§ 40.1-51.2:2. Remedy for discrimination.

A. Any employee who believes that he or she has been discharged or otherwise discriminated against by any person in violation of § 40.1-51.2:1 may, within 60 days after such violation occurs, file a complaint with the Commissioner alleging such discharge or discrimination. The employee shall be prohibited from seeking relief under this section if he fails to file such complaint within the 60-day time period. Upon receipt of such complaint, the Commissioner shall cause such investigation to be made as he deems appropriate. If, upon such investigation, he determines that the provisions of § 40.1-51.2:1 have been violated, he shall attempt by conciliation to have the violation abated without economic loss to the employee. In the event a voluntary agreement cannot be obtained, the Commissioner shall bring an action in a circuit court having jurisdiction over the person charged with the violation. The court shall have jurisdiction, for cause shown, to restrain violations and order appropriate relief, including rehiring or reinstatement of the employee to his former position with back pay plus interest at a rate not to exceed eight percent per annum.

B. Should the Commissioner, based on the results of his investigation of the complaint, refuse to issue a charge against the person that allegedly discriminated against the employee, the employee may bring action in a circuit court having jurisdiction over the person allegedly discriminating against the employee, for appropriate relief.

1979, c. 354; 2001, c. 332; 2005, cc. 743, 789.

§ 40.1-51.3. Duties of health and safety inspectors.

(a) It shall be the duty of all safety and health inspectors to inspect all places of business covered by the State Plan developed in accordance with the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (P.L. 91-596) for conformity with the provisions of this title and with all safety and health standards, rules and regulations promulgated under this title.

(b) [Repealed.]

1972, c. 602; 1979, c. 354.

§ 40.1-51.3:1. Penalty for giving advance notice of safety or health inspection under this title.

Any person who gives advance notice of any safety or health inspection to be conducted under the provisions of this title without authority of the Commissioner or his authorized representative shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000, or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

1973, c. 425; 1994, c. 28.

§ 40.1-51.3:2. Evidence of civil penalty against employer under state, federal, etc., safety codes inadmissible in personal injury or property damage trial.

In the trial of any action to recover for personal injury or property damage sustained by any party, in which action it is alleged that an employer acted in violation of or failed to act in accordance with any provision of this chapter or any state or federal occupational safety, health and safety standards act, the fact of the issuance of a citation, the voluntary payment of a civil penalty by a party charged with a violation, or the judicial assessment of a civil penalty under this chapter or any such state or federal occupational safety, health and safety standards act, shall not be admissible in evidence.

1974, c. 516.

§ 40.1-51.4. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1979, c. 354.

§ 40.1-51.4:1. Confidentiality of trade secrets.

All information reported to or otherwise obtained by the Commissioner or his authorized representative in connection with any inspection or proceeding under this title which contains or which might reveal a trade secret referred to in § 1905 of Title 18 of the United States Code shall be considered confidential for the purpose of that section, except that such information may be disclosed to the Commissioner or his authorized representatives concerned with carrying out any provisions of this title or any proceeding under the aforementioned title. In any such proceeding, the court, the Safety and Health Codes Board or the Commissioner shall issue such orders as may be appropriate to protect the confidentiality of trade secrets.

1976, c. 607; 1994, c. 28.

§ 40.1-51.4:2. Penalty for making false statements, etc.

Any person who knowingly makes any false statement, representation or certification in any application, record, report, plan, or other document filed or required to be maintained under this title shall upon conviction be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000, or by imprisonment for not more than six months or by both.

1976, c. 607; 1994, c. 28.

§ 40.1-51.4:3. Prohibition of use of certain questions on polygraph tests for employment.

No employer shall, as a condition of employment, require a prospective employee to answer questions in a polygraph test concerning the prospective employee's sexual activities unless such sexual activity of the prospective employee has resulted in a conviction of a violation of the criminal laws of this Commonwealth. Any written record of the results of a polygraph examination given to a prospective employee by an employer shall be destroyed or maintained on a confidential basis by the employer giving the examination and shall be open to inspection only upon agreement of the employee tested.

Violation of this section shall constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor.

1977, c. 521; 1990, c. 368.

§ 40.1-51.4:4. Prohibition of use of polygraphs in certain employment situations.

A. As used in this section, the term "lie detector test" means any test utilizing a polygraph or any other device, mechanism or instrument which is operated, or the results of which are used or interpreted by an examiner for the purpose of purporting to assist in or enable the detection of deception, the verification of truthfulness, or the rendering of a diagnostic opinion regarding the honesty of an individual.

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 40.1-2.1, it shall be unlawful for any law-enforcement agency as defined in § 9.1-500 or regional jail to require any employee to submit to a lie detector test, or to discharge, demote or otherwise discriminate against any employee for refusal or failure to take a lie detector test, except that the chief executive officer of a law-enforcement agency or the superintendent of a regional jail may, by written directive, require an employee to submit to a lie detector test related to a particular internal administrative investigation concerning allegations of misconduct or criminal activity. No employee required to submit to a lie detector test shall be discharged, demoted or otherwise discriminated against solely on the basis of the results of the lie detector test.

C. Any person who believes that he has been discharged, demoted or otherwise discriminated against by any person in violation of this section may, within 90 days after such alleged violation occurs, file a complaint with the Commissioner. Upon a finding by the Commissioner of a violation of this section, the Commissioner shall order, in the event of discharge or demotion, reinstatement of such person to his former position with back pay plus interest at a rate not to exceed eight percent per annum. Such orders of the Commissioner which have become final under the Virginia Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.) may be recorded, enforced and satisfied as orders or decrees of a circuit court upon certification of such orders by the Commissioner. The Commissioner, or his authorized representative, shall have the right to petition circuit court for injunctive or such other relief as may be necessary for enforcement of this section. No fees or costs shall be charged the Commonwealth by a court or any officer for or in connection with the filing of the complaint, pleadings, or other papers in any action authorized by this section.

D. The analysis of any polygraph test charts produced during any polygraph examination administered to a party or witness shall not be submitted, referenced, referred to, offered or presented in any manner in any proceeding conducted pursuant to § 2.2-1202.1 or conducted by any county, city or town except as to disciplinary or other actions taken against a polygrapher.

1994, c. 561; 1998, c. 140; 2000, cc. 585, 591; 2012, cc. 803, 835.

§ 40.1-51.4:5. Immunity of employees for reporting threatening conduct.

A. Any employee who, in good faith with reasonable cause and without malice, truthfully reports threatening conduct by a person employed at the same workplace shall be immune from all civil liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed as the result of making such a report.

B. As used in subsection A, "threatening conduct" means any conduct that would place a person in reasonable apprehension of death or bodily injury.

C. The immunity provided by this section shall not abrogate any other immunity that an employee may be entitled to assert.

2002, c. 537.