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e-CFR data is current as of February 25, 2021

Title 16Chapter IISubchapter A → Part 1020

Title 16: Commercial Practices


§1020.1   Why is the Commission issuing this rule?
§1020.2   What is the definition of “small business”?
§1020.3   What are the qualifications and duties of the Small Business Ombudsman?
§1020.4   What is the Small Business Program?
§1020.5   What is the Small Business Enforcement Policy?

Authority: 5 U.S.C. 601 note.

Source: 61 FR 52878, Oct. 9, 1996, unless otherwise noted.

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§1020.1   Why is the Commission issuing this rule?

(a) To state the Commission's policies on small businesses;

(b) To assure that the Commission continues to treat small businesses fairly;

(c) To assure that small businesses do not bear a disproportionate share of any burden or cost created by a Commission regulatory, enforcement, or other action; and

(d) To assure that small businesses are given every opportunity to participate fully in the Commission's regulatory process.

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§1020.2   What is the definition of “small business”?

As used in this part, the term small business means any entity that is either a small business, small organization, or small governmental jurisdiction, as those terms are defined at 5 U.S.C. 601(3), (4), and (5), respectively.

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§1020.3   What are the qualifications and duties of the Small Business Ombudsman?

(a) The Chairman will appoint a senior, full-time Commission employee as Small Business Ombudsman. The Ombudsman must:

(1) Have a working knowledge of the Commission's statutes and regulations;

(2) Be familiar with the industries and products that the Commission regulates;

(3) Develop a working knowledge of the regulatory problems that small businesses experience;

(4) Perform the Ombudsman duties in addition to, and consistently with, other Commission responsibilities; and

(5) Not work in the Office of Compliance or Office of Hazard Identification and Reduction.

(b) The duties of the Small Business Ombudsman will include, but not be limited to, the following:

(1) Developing and implementing a program to assist small businesses that is consistent with §1020.4;

(2) Working to expedite Commission responses to small businesses and providing information, guidance, and technical assistance to small businesses;

(3) Performing a review, at least twice a year, of the Commission's regulatory agenda for actions likely to have a significant impact on small businesses; and

(4) Pursuing the interests of small businesses by maintaining a working relationship with appropriate officials in the Small Business Administration, in national trade associations that represent small businesses, and in the Commission.

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§1020.4   What is the Small Business Program?

(a) Whenever the Commission is aware of the interests of small businesses, it will consider those interests before taking any action that will likely have a significant effect on small businesses.

(b) Small businesses may request and receive special assistance from the Commission, as appropriate and consistent with Commission resources. Examples of such assistance are:

(1) Small businesses may contact the Small Business Ombudsman to obtain information about Commission statutes, regulations, or programs; to obtain technical assistance; to determine who in the agency has particular expertise that might be helpful to the small business; or to help expedite a small business's request.

(2) Small businesses may request assistance from the Commission by using the small business extension on the Commission's hotline telephone system. The number is 1-800-638-2772, extension 234.

(3) The Small Business Ombudsman will directly provide small businesses with the requested assistance, or will direct the small business to the appropriate Commission staff for help.

(c) Whenever the Commission issues a final regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule, under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 604), the Commission will publish a compliance guide for small businesses. The guide will explain in easy-to-understand language what action a small business must take to comply with the rule.

(d) The Commission may take other appropriate actions to assist small businesses, but such actions will not treat any other Commission constituent unfairly.

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§1020.5   What is the Small Business Enforcement Policy?

(a) When appropriate, the Commission will, subject to all applicable statutes and regulations and paragraph (b) of this section:

(1) Waive or reduce civil penalties for violations of a statutory or regulatory requirement by a small business and/or

(2) Consider a small business's ability to pay in determining a penalty assessment against that small business,

(b) The Commission may decline to waive civil penalties or consider a small business's ability to pay, under paragraph (a) of this section, when one or more of the following circumstances applies:

(1) The small business's violations posed serious health or safety threats.

(2) The small business was subject to multiple enforcement actions by the Commission.

(3) The small business's violations involved willful or criminal conduct.

(4) The small business failed to correct violations within a reasonable time.

(5) The small business failed to make a good faith effort to comply with the law.

(6) The small business acted in any other way that would make it unfair or inappropriate for the Commission to provide a benefit under paragraph (a) of this section.

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