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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of May 28, 2020

Title 29Subtitle BChapter XVII → Part 1983


Title 29: Labor


PART 1983—PROCEDURES FOR THE HANDLING OF RETALIATION COMPLAINTS UNDER SECTION 219 OF THE CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2008


Contents

Subpart A—Complaints, Investigations, Findings and Preliminary Orders

§1983.100   Purpose and scope.
§1983.101   Definitions.
§1983.102   Obligations and prohibited acts.
§1983.103   Filing of retaliation complaint.
§1983.104   Investigation.
§1983.105   Issuance of findings and preliminary orders.

Subpart B—Litigation

§1983.106   Objections to the findings and the preliminary order and requests for a hearing.
§1983.107   Hearings.
§1983.108   Role of Federal agencies.
§1983.109   Decision and orders of the administrative law judge.
§1983.110   Decision and orders of the Administrative Review Board.

Subpart C—Miscellaneous Provisions

§1983.111   Withdrawal of complaints, findings, objections, and petitions for review; settlement.
§1983.112   Judicial review.
§1983.113   Judicial enforcement.
§1983.114   District court jurisdiction of retaliation complaints.
§1983.115   Special circumstances; waiver of rules.

Authority: 15 U.S.C. 2087; Secretary's Order 1-2012 (Jan. 18, 2012), 77 FR 3912 (Jan. 25, 2012); Secretary's Order 01-2020.

Link to an amendment published at 85 FR 30623, May 20, 2020.

Source: 77 FR 40503, July 10, 2012, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A—Complaints, Investigations, Findings and Preliminary Orders

§1983.100   Purpose and scope.

(a) This part implements procedures of the employee protection provisions of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), 15 U.S.C. 2087. CPSIA provides for employee protection from retaliation because the employee has engaged in protected activity pertaining to consumer product safety.

(b) This part establishes procedures under CPSIA for the expeditious handling of retaliation complaints filed by employees, or by persons acting on their behalf. These rules, together with those codified at 29 CFR part 18, set forth the procedures under CPSIA for submission of complaints, investigations, issuance of findings and preliminary orders, objections to findings and orders, litigation before administrative law judges (ALJs), post-hearing administrative review, and withdrawals and settlements.

§1983.101   Definitions.

As used in this part:

(a) Assistant Secretary means the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health or the person or persons to whom he or she delegates authority under CPSIA.

(b) Business days means days other than Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.

(c) Commission means the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

(d) Complainant means the employee who filed a CPSIA complaint or on whose behalf a complaint was filed.

(e)(1) Consumer product means any article, or component part thereof, produced or distributed:

(i) For sale to a consumer for use in or around a permanent or temporary household or residence, a school, in recreation, or otherwise; or

(ii) For the personal use, consumption or enjoyment of a consumer in or around a permanent or temporary household or residence, a school, in recreation, or otherwise.

(iii) The term “consumer product” includes any mechanical device which carries or conveys passengers along, around, or over a fixed or restricted route or course or within a defined area for the purpose of giving its passengers amusement, which is customarily controlled or directed by an individual who is employed for that purpose and who is not a consumer with respect to such device, and which is not permanently fixed to a site, but does not include such a device that is permanently fixed to a site.

(2) The term consumer product does not include:

(i) Any article which is not customarily produced or distributed for sale to, or use or consumption by, or enjoyment of, a consumer;

(ii) Tobacco and tobacco products;

(iii) Motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment (as defined by 49 U.S.C. 30102(a)(6) and (7));

(iv) Pesticides (as defined by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (7 U.S.C. 136 et seq.));

(v) Any article or any component of any such article which, if sold by the manufacturer, producer, or importer, would be subject to the tax imposed by 26 U.S.C. 4181;

(vi) Aircraft, aircraft engines, propellers, or appliances (as defined in 49 U.S.C. 40102(a));

(vii) Boats which could be subjected to safety regulation under 46 U.S.C. chapter 43; vessels, and appurtenances to vessels (other than such boats), which could be subjected to safety regulation under title 52 of the Revised Statutes or other marine safety statutes administered by the department in which the Coast Guard is operating; and equipment (including associated equipment, as defined in 46 U.S.C. 2101(1)), to the extent that a risk of injury associated with the use of such equipment on boats or vessels could be eliminated or reduced by actions taken under any statute referred to in this definitional section;

(viii) Drugs, devices, or cosmetics (as such terms are defined in 21 U.S.C. 321(g), (h), and (i)); or

(ix) Food (the term “food” means all “food,” as defined in 21 U.S.C. 321(f), including poultry and poultry products (as defined in 21 U.S.C. 453(e) and (f)), meat, meat food products (as defined in 21 U.S.C. 601(j)), and eggs and egg products (as defined in 21 U.S.C. 1033)).

(f) CPSIA means Section 219 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, Public Law 110-314, 122 Stat. 3016 (Aug. 14, 2008) (codified at 15 U.S.C. 2087).

(g) Distributor means a person to whom a consumer product is delivered or sold for purposes of distribution in commerce, except that such term does not include a manufacturer or retailer of such product.

(h) Employee means an individual presently or formerly working for, an individual applying to work for, or an individual whose employment could be affected by a manufacturer, private labeler, distributor, or retailer.

(i) Manufacturer means any person who manufactures or imports a consumer product. A product is manufactured if it is manufactured, produced, or assembled.

(j) OSHA means the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor.

(k) Private labeler means an owner of a brand or trademark on the label of a consumer product which bears a private label. A consumer product bears a private label if:

(1) The product (or its container) is labeled with the brand or trademark of a person other than a manufacturer of the product,

(2) The person with whose brand or trademark the product (or container) is labeled has authorized or caused the product to be so labeled, and

(3) The brand or trademark of a manufacturer of such product does not appear on such label.

(l) Retailer means a person to whom a consumer product is delivered or sold for purposes of sale or distribution by such person to a consumer.

(m) Respondent means the employer named in the complaint who is alleged to have violated CPSIA.

(n) Secretary means the Secretary of Labor or person to whom authority under CPSIA has been delegated.

(o) Any future statutory amendments that affect the definition of a term or terms listed in this section will apply in lieu of the definition stated herein.

§1983.102   Obligations and prohibited acts.

(a) No manufacturer, private labeler, distributor, or retailer may discharge or otherwise retaliate against, including, but not limited to, intimidating, threatening, restraining, coercing, blacklisting or disciplining, any employee with respect to the employee's compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because the employee, whether at the employee's initiative or in the ordinary course of the employee's duties (or any person acting pursuant to a request of the employee), engaged in any of the activities specified in paragraphs (b)(1) through (4) of this section.

(b) An employee is protected against retaliation (as described in paragraph (a) of this section) by a manufacturer, private labeler, distributor, or retailer because the employee (or any person acting pursuant to a request of the employee):

(1) Provided, caused to be provided, or is about to provide or cause to be provided to the employer, the Federal Government, or the attorney general of a State information relating to any violation of, or any act or omission the employee reasonably believes to be a violation of any provision of the Consumer Product Safety Act, as amended by CPSIA, or any other Act enforced by the Commission, or any order, rule, regulation, standard, or ban under any such Acts;

(2) Testified or is about to testify in a proceeding concerning such violation;

(3) Assisted or participated or is about to assist or participate in such a proceeding; or

(4) Objected to, or refused to participate in, any activity, policy, practice, or assigned task that the employee (or other such person) reasonably believed to be in violation of any provision of the Consumer Product Safety Act, as amended by CPSIA, or any other Act enforced by the Commission, or any order, rule, regulation, standard, or ban under any such Acts.

(c) This part shall have no application with respect to an employee of a manufacturer, private labeler, distributor, or retailer who, acting without direction from such manufacturer, private labeler, distributor, or retailer (or such person's agent), deliberately causes a violation of any requirement relating to any violation or alleged violation of any order, regulation, or consumer product safety standard under the Consumer Product Safety Act, as amended by CPSIA, or any other law enforced by the Commission.

§1983.103   Filing of retaliation complaint.

(a) Who may file. An employee who believes that he or she has been retaliated against by a manufacturer, private labeler, distributor, or retailer in violation of CPSIA may file, or have filed by any person on the employee's behalf, a complaint alleging such retaliation.

(b) Nature of filing. No particular form of complaint is required. A complaint may be filed orally or in writing. Oral complaints will be reduced to writing by OSHA. If the complainant is unable to file the complaint in English, OSHA will accept the complaint in any language.

(c) Place of filing. The complaint should be filed with the OSHA office responsible for enforcement activities in the geographical area where the employee resides or was employed, but may be filed with any OSHA officer or employee. Addresses and telephone numbers for these officials are set forth in local directories and at the following Internet address: http://www.osha.gov.

(d) Time for filing. Within 180 days after an alleged violation of CPSIA occurs, any employee who believes that he or she has been retaliated against in violation of CPSIA may file, or have filed by any person on the employee's behalf, a complaint alleging such retaliation. The date of the postmark, facsimile transmittal, electronic communication transmittal, telephone call, hand-delivery, delivery to a third-party commercial carrier, or in-person filing at an OSHA office will be considered the date of filing. The time for filing a complaint may be tolled for reasons warranted by applicable case law.

§1983.104   Investigation.

(a) Upon receipt of a complaint in the investigating office, the Assistant Secretary will notify the respondent of the filing of the complaint, of the allegations contained in the complaint, and of the substance of the evidence supporting the complaint. Such materials will be redacted, if necessary, in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, and other applicable confidentiality laws. The Assistant Secretary will also notify the respondent of its rights under paragraphs (b) and (f) of this section and §1983.110(e). The Assistant Secretary will provide an unredacted copy of these same materials to the complainant (or the complainant's legal counsel if complainant is represented by counsel), and to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

(b) Within 20 days of receipt of the notice of the filing of the complaint provided under paragraph (a) of this section, the respondent and the complainant each may submit to the Assistant Secretary a written statement and any affidavits or documents substantiating its position. Within the same 20 days, the respondent and the complainant each may request a meeting with the Assistant Secretary to present its position.

(c) Throughout the investigation, the agency will provide to the complainant (or the complainant's legal counsel if complainant is represented by counsel) a copy of all of respondent's submissions to the agency that are responsive to the complainant's whistleblower complaint. Before providing such materials to the complainant, the agency will redact them, if necessary, in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, and other applicable confidentiality laws. The agency will also provide the complainant with an opportunity to respond to such submissions.

(d) Investigations will be conducted in a manner that protects the confidentiality of any person who provides information on a confidential basis, other than the complainant, in accordance with part 70 of this title.

(e)(1) A complaint will be dismissed unless the complainant has made a prima facie showing that protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse action alleged in the complaint.

(2) The complaint, supplemented as appropriate by interviews of the complainant, must allege the existence of facts and evidence to make a prima facie showing as follows:

(i) The employee engaged in a protected activity;

(ii) The respondent knew or suspected that the employee engaged in the protected activity;

(iii) The employee suffered an adverse action; and

(iv) The circumstances were sufficient to raise the inference that the protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse action.

(3) For purposes of determining whether to investigate, the complainant will be considered to have met the required burden if the complaint on its face, supplemented as appropriate through interviews of the complainant, alleges the existence of facts and either direct or circumstantial evidence to meet the required showing, i.e., to give rise to an inference that the respondent knew or suspected that the employee engaged in protected activity and that the protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse action. The burden may be satisfied, for example, if the complaint shows that the adverse action took place shortly after the protected activity, giving rise to the inference that it was a contributing factor in the adverse action. If the required showing has not been made, the complainant (or the complainant's legal counsel if complainant is represented by counsel) will be so notified and the investigation will not commence.

(4) Notwithstanding a finding that a complainant has made a prima facie showing, as required by this section, an investigation of the complaint will not be conducted or will be discontinued if the respondent demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the same adverse action in the absence of the complainant's protected activity.

(5) If the respondent fails to make a timely response or fails to satisfy the burden set forth in the prior paragraph, the Assistant Secretary will proceed with the investigation. The investigation will proceed whenever it is necessary or appropriate to confirm or verify the information provided by the respondent.

(f) Prior to the issuance of findings and a preliminary order as provided for in §1983.105, if the Assistant Secretary has reasonable cause, on the basis of information gathered under the procedures of this part, to believe that the respondent has violated CPSIA and that preliminary reinstatement is warranted, the Assistant Secretary will again contact the respondent (or the respondent's legal counsel if respondent is represented by counsel) to give notice of the substance of the relevant evidence supporting the complainant's allegations as developed during the course of the investigation. This evidence includes any witness statements, which will be redacted to protect the identity of confidential informants where statements were given in confidence; if the statements cannot be redacted without revealing the identity of confidential informants, summaries of their contents will be provided. The complainant will also receive a copy of the materials that must be provided to the respondent under this paragraph. Before providing such materials to the complainant, the agency will redact them, if necessary, in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, and other applicable confidentiality laws. The respondent will be given the opportunity to submit a written response, to meet with the investigators, to present statements from witnesses in support of its position, and to present legal and factual arguments. The respondent must present this evidence within 10 business days of the Assistant Secretary's notification pursuant to this paragraph, or as soon thereafter as the Assistant Secretary and the respondent can agree, if the interests of justice so require.

§1983.105   Issuance of findings and preliminary orders.

(a) After considering all the relevant information collected during the investigation, the Assistant Secretary will issue, within 60 days of the filing of the complaint, written findings as to whether or not there is reasonable cause to believe that the respondent has retaliated against the complainant in violation of CPSIA.

(1) If the Assistant Secretary concludes that there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation has occurred, the Assistant Secretary will accompany the findings with a preliminary order providing relief to the complainant. The preliminary order will require, where appropriate: affirmative action to abate the violation; reinstatement of the complainant to his or her former position, together with the compensation (including back pay and interest), terms, conditions and privileges of the complainant's employment; and payment of compensatory damages, including, at the request of the complainant, the aggregate amount of all costs and expenses (including attorney's and expert witness fees) reasonably incurred. Interest on back pay will be calculated using the interest rate applicable to underpayment of taxes under 26 U.S.C. 6621 and will be compounded daily.

(2) If the Assistant Secretary concludes that a violation has not occurred, the Assistant Secretary will notify the parties of that finding.

(b) The findings and, where appropriate, the preliminary order will be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to all parties of record (and each party's legal counsel if the party is represented by counsel). The findings and, where appropriate, the preliminary order will inform the parties of the right to object to the findings and/or order and to request a hearing, and of the right of the respondent to request an award of attorney's fees not exceeding $1,000 from the ALJ, regardless of whether the respondent has filed objections, if the respondent alleges that the complaint was frivolous or brought in bad faith. The findings and, where appropriate, the preliminary order also will give the address of the Chief Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Department of Labor. At the same time, the Assistant Secretary will file with the Chief Administrative Law Judge a copy of the original complaint and a copy of the findings and/or order.

(c) The findings and any preliminary order will be effective 30 days after receipt by the respondent (or the respondent's legal counsel if the respondent is represented by counsel), or on the compliance date set forth in the preliminary order, whichever is later, unless an objection and/or a request for hearing has been timely filed as provided at §1983.106. However, the portion of any preliminary order requiring reinstatement will be effective immediately upon the respondent's receipt of the findings and the preliminary order, regardless of any objections to the findings and/or the order.

Subpart B—Litigation

§1983.106   Objections to the findings and the preliminary order and requests for a hearing.

(a) Any party who desires review, including judicial review, of the findings and/or preliminary order, or a respondent alleging that the complaint was frivolous or brought in bad faith who seeks an award of attorney's fees under CPSIA, must file any objections and/or a request for a hearing on the record within 30 days of receipt of the findings and preliminary order pursuant to §1983.105. The objections, request for a hearing, and/or request for attorney's fees must be in writing and state whether the objections are to the findings, the preliminary order, and/or whether there should be an award of attorney's fees. The date of the postmark, facsimile transmittal, or electronic communication transmittal is considered the date of filing; if the objection is filed in person, by hand-delivery or other means, the objection is filed upon receipt. Objections must be filed with the Chief Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Department of Labor, and copies of the objections must be mailed at the same time to the other parties of record, the OSHA official who issued the findings and order, the Assistant Secretary, and the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor.

(b) If a timely objection is filed, all provisions of the preliminary order will be stayed, except for the portion requiring preliminary reinstatement, which will not be automatically stayed. The portion of the preliminary order requiring reinstatement will be effective immediately upon the respondent's receipt of the findings and preliminary order, regardless of any objections to the order. The respondent may file a motion with the Office of Administrative Law Judges for a stay of the Assistant Secretary's preliminary order of reinstatement, which shall be granted only based on exceptional circumstances. If no timely objection is filed with respect to either the findings or the preliminary order, the findings and/or the preliminary order will become the final decision of the Secretary, not subject to judicial review.

§1983.107   Hearings.

(a) Except as provided in this part, proceedings will be conducted in accordance with the rules of practice and procedure for administrative hearings before the Office of Administrative Law Judges, codified at subpart A of part 18 of this title.

(b) Upon receipt of an objection and request for hearing, the Chief Administrative Law Judge will promptly assign the case to an ALJ who will notify the parties, by certified mail, of the day, time, and place of hearing. The hearing is to commence expeditiously, except upon a showing of good cause or unless otherwise agreed to by the parties. Hearings will be conducted de novo on the record. ALJs have broad discretion to limit discovery in order to expedite the hearing.

(c) If both the complainant and the respondent object to the findings and/or order, the objections will be consolidated and a single hearing will be conducted.

(d) Formal rules of evidence will not apply, but rules or principles designed to assure production of the most probative evidence will be applied. The ALJ may exclude evidence that is immaterial, irrelevant, or unduly repetitious.

§1983.108   Role of Federal agencies.

(a)(1) The complainant and the respondent will be parties in every proceeding and must be served with copies of all documents in the case. At the Assistant Secretary's discretion, the Assistant Secretary may participate as a party or as amicus curiae at any time at any stage of the proceeding. This right to participate includes, but is not limited to, the right to petition for review of a decision of an ALJ, including a decision approving or rejecting a settlement agreement between the complainant and the respondent.

(2) Copies of documents must be sent to the Assistant Secretary and to the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor, only upon request of the Assistant Secretary, or where the Assistant Secretary is participating in the proceeding, or where service on the Assistant Secretary and the Associate Solicitor is otherwise required by these rules.

(b) The Consumer Product Safety Commission, if interested in a proceeding, may participate as amicus curiae at any time in the proceeding, at the Commission's discretion. At the request of the Commission, copies of all documents in a case must be sent to the Commission, whether or not it is participating in the proceeding.

§1983.109   Decision and orders of the administrative law judge.

(a) The decision of the ALJ will contain appropriate findings, conclusions, and an order pertaining to the remedies provided in paragraph (d) of this section, as appropriate. A determination that a violation has occurred may be made only if the complainant has demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse action alleged in the complaint.

(b) If the complainant has satisfied the burden set forth in the prior paragraph, relief may not be ordered if the respondent demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the same adverse action in the absence of any protected activity.

(c) Neither the Assistant Secretary's determination to dismiss a complaint without completing an investigation pursuant to §1983.104(e) nor the Assistant Secretary's determination to proceed with an investigation is subject to review by the ALJ, and a complaint may not be remanded for the completion of an investigation or for additional findings on the basis that a determination to dismiss was made in error. Rather, if there otherwise is jurisdiction, the ALJ will hear the case on the merits or dispose of the matter without a hearing if the facts and circumstances warrant.

(d)(1) If the ALJ concludes that the respondent has violated the law, the ALJ will issue an order that will require, where appropriate: affirmative action to abate the violation; reinstatement of the complainant to his or her former position, together with the compensation (including back pay and interest), terms, conditions, and privileges of the complainant's employment; and payment of compensatory damages, including, at the request of the complainant, the aggregate amount of all costs and expenses (including attorney's and expert witness fees) reasonably incurred. Interest on back pay will be calculated using the interest rate applicable to underpayment of taxes under 26 U.S.C. 6621 and will be compounded daily.

(2) If the ALJ determines that the respondent has not violated the law, an order will be issued denying the complaint. If, upon the request of the respondent, the ALJ determines that a complaint was frivolous or was brought in bad faith, the ALJ may award to the respondent a reasonable attorney's fee, not exceeding $1,000.

(e) The decision will be served upon all parties to the proceeding, the Assistant Secretary, and the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor. Any ALJ's decision requiring reinstatement or lifting an order of reinstatement by the Assistant Secretary will be effective immediately upon receipt of the decision by the respondent. All other portions of the ALJ's order will be effective 14 days after the date of the decision unless a timely petition for review has been filed with the Administrative Review Board (ARB), U.S. Department of Labor. The decision of the ALJ will become the final order of the Secretary unless a petition for review is timely filed with the ARB and the ARB accepts the petition for review.

§1983.110   Decision and orders of the Administrative Review Board.

Link to an amendment published at 85 FR 30623, May 20, 2020.

(a) Any party desiring to seek review, including judicial review, of a decision of the ALJ, or a respondent alleging that the complaint was frivolous or brought in bad faith who seeks an award of attorney's fees, must file a written petition for review with the ARB. The parties should identify in their petitions for review the legal conclusions or orders to which they object, or the objections may be deemed waived. A petition must be filed within 14 days of the date of the decision of the ALJ. The date of the postmark, facsimile transmittal, or electronic communication transmittal will be considered to be the date of filing; if the petition is filed in person, by hand delivery or other means, the petition is considered filed upon receipt. The petition must be served on all parties and on the Chief Administrative Law Judge at the time it is filed with the ARB. Copies of the petition for review must be served on the Assistant Secretary and on the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor.

(b) If a timely petition for review is filed pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section, the decision of the ALJ will become the final order of the Secretary unless the ARB, within 30 days of the filing of the petition, issues an order notifying the parties that the case has been accepted for review. If a case is accepted for review, the decision of the ALJ will be inoperative unless and until the ARB issues an order adopting the decision, except that any order of reinstatement will be effective while review is conducted by the ARB, unless the ARB grants a motion by the respondent to stay that order based on exceptional circumstances. The ARB will specify the terms under which any briefs are to be filed. The ARB will review the factual determinations of the ALJ under the substantial evidence standard. If no timely petition for review is filed, or the ARB denies review, the decision of the ALJ will become the final order of the Secretary. If no timely petition for review is filed, the resulting final order is not subject to judicial review.

(c) The decision of the ARB will be issued within 120 days of the conclusion of the hearing, which will be deemed to be 14 days after the date of the decision of the ALJ, unless a motion for reconsideration has been filed with the ALJ in the interim. In such case, the conclusion of the hearing is the date the motion for reconsideration is ruled upon or 14 days after a new decision is issued. The ARB's decision will be served upon all parties and the Chief Administrative Law Judge by mail. The decision will also be served on the Assistant Secretary and on the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor, even if the Assistant Secretary is not a party.

(d) If the ARB concludes that the respondent has violated the law, the ARB will issue an order providing relief to the complainant. The order will require, where appropriate, affirmative action to abate the violation; reinstatement of the complainant to his or her former position, together with the compensation (including back pay and interest), terms, conditions, and privileges of the complainant's employment; and payment of compensatory damages, including, at the request of the complainant, the aggregate amount of all costs and expenses (including attorney and expert witness fees) reasonably incurred. Interest on back pay will be calculated using the interest rate applicable to underpayment of taxes under 26 U.S.C. 6621 and will be compounded daily. Such order is subject to discretionary review by the Secretary as provided in Secretary's Order 01-2020.

(e) If the ARB concludes that the respondent has not violated the law, the ARB will issue an order denying the complaint. If, upon the request of the respondent, the ARB determines that a complaint was frivolous or was brought in bad faith, the ARB may award to the respondent a reasonable attorney's fee, not exceeding $1,000. An order under this section is subject to discretionary review by the Secretary as provided in Secretary's Order 01-2020.

[77 FR 40503, July 10, 2012, as amended at 85 FR 13037, Mar. 6, 2020]

Subpart C—Miscellaneous Provisions

§1983.111   Withdrawal of complaints, findings, objections, and petitions for review; settlement.

(a) At any time prior to the filing of objections to the Assistant Secretary's findings and/or preliminary order, a complainant may withdraw his or her complaint by notifying the Assistant Secretary, orally or in writing, of his or her withdrawal. The Assistant Secretary then will confirm in writing the complainant's desire to withdraw and determine whether to approve the withdrawal. The Assistant Secretary will notify the parties (and each party's legal counsel if the party is represented by counsel) of the approval of any withdrawal. If the complaint is withdrawn because of settlement, the settlement must be submitted for approval in accordance with paragraph (d) of this section. A complainant may not withdraw his or her complaint after the filing of objections to the Assistant Secretary's findings and/or preliminary order.

(b) The Assistant Secretary may withdraw the findings and/or preliminary order at any time before the expiration of the 30-day objection period described in §1983.106, provided that no objection has been filed yet, and substitute new findings and/or a new preliminary order. The date of the receipt of the substituted findings or order will begin a new 30-day objection period.

(c) At any time before the Assistant Secretary's findings and/or order become final, a party may withdraw objections to the Assistant Secretary's findings and/or order by filing a written withdrawal with the ALJ. If the case is on review with the ARB, a party may withdraw a petition for review of an ALJ's decision at any time before that decision becomes final by filing a written withdrawal with the ARB. The ALJ or the ARB, as the case may be, will determine whether to approve the withdrawal of the objections or the petition for review. If the ALJ approves a request to withdraw objections to the Assistant Secretary's findings and/or order, and there are no other pending objections, the Assistant Secretary's findings and/or order will become the final order of the Secretary. If the ARB approves a request to withdraw a petition for review of an ALJ decision, and there are no other pending petitions for review of that decision, the ALJ's decision will become the final order of the Secretary. If objections or a petition for review are withdrawn because of settlement, the settlement must be submitted for approval in accordance with paragraph (d) of this section.

(d)(1) Investigative settlements. At any time after the filing of a complaint, and before the findings and/or order are objected to or become a final order by operation of law, the case may be settled if the Assistant Secretary, the complainant, and the respondent agree to a settlement. The Assistant Secretary's approval of a settlement reached by the respondent and the complainant demonstrates the Assistant Secretary's consent and achieves the consent of all three parties.

(2) Adjudicatory settlements. At any time after the filing of objections to the Assistant Secretary's findings and/or order, the case may be settled if the participating parties agree to a settlement and the settlement is approved by the ALJ if the case is before the ALJ, or by the ARB if the ARB has accepted the case for review. A copy of the settlement will be filed with the ALJ or the ARB, as the case may be.

(e) Any settlement approved by the Assistant Secretary, the ALJ, or the ARB will constitute the final order of the Secretary and may be enforced in United States district court pursuant to §1983.113.

§1983.112   Judicial review.

Link to an amendment published at 85 FR 30623, May 20, 2020.

(a) Within 60 days after the issuance of a final order (including a decision issued by the Secretary upon his or her discretionary review) for which judicial review is available, any person adversely affected or aggrieved by the order may file a petition for review of the order in the United States Court of Appeals for the circuit in which the violation allegedly occurred or the circuit in which the complainant resided on the date of the violation.

(b) A final order is not subject to judicial review in any criminal or other civil proceeding.

(c) If a timely petition for review is filed, the record of a case, including the record of proceedings before the ALJ, will be transmitted by the ARB or the ALJ, as the case may be, to the appropriate court pursuant to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure and the local rules of such court.

[77 FR 40503, July 10, 2012, as amended at 85 FR 13038, Mar. 6, 2020]

§1983.113   Judicial enforcement.

Whenever any person has failed to comply with a preliminary order of reinstatement, or a final order, including one approving a settlement agreement, issued under CPSIA, the Secretary or a person on whose behalf the order was issued may file a civil action seeking enforcement of the order in the United States district court for the district in which the violation was found to have occurred. The Secretary also may file a civil action seeking enforcement of the order in the United States district court for the District of Columbia. In civil actions under this section, the district court will have jurisdiction to grant all appropriate relief, including, but not limited to, injunctive relief and compensatory damages, including:

(a) Reinstatement with the same seniority status that the employee would have had, but for the discharge or retaliation;

(b) The amount of back pay, with interest; and

(c) Compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the discharge or retaliation, including litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorney's fees.

§1983.114   District court jurisdiction of retaliation complaints.

(a) The complainant may bring an action at law or equity for de novo review in the appropriate district court of the United States, which will have jurisdiction over such an action without regard to the amount in controversy, either:

(1) Within 90 days after receiving a written determination under §1983.105(a) provided that there has been no final decision of the Secretary; or

(2) If there has been no final decision of the Secretary within 210 days of the filing of the complaint.

(3) At the request of either party, the action shall be tried by the court with a jury.

(b) Within seven days after filing a complaint in federal court, a complainant must file with the Assistant Secretary, the ALJ, or the ARB, depending on where the proceeding is pending, a copy of the file-stamped complaint. A copy of the complaint also must be served on the OSHA official who issued the findings and/or preliminary order, the Assistant Secretary, and the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor.

§1983.115   Special circumstances; waiver of rules.

In special circumstances not contemplated by the provisions of these rules, or for good cause shown, the ALJ or the ARB on review may, upon application, after three days notice to all parties, waive any rule or issue such orders that justice or the administration of CPSIA requires.

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