Katelynn Williams Comments on Evolving Occupational Safety Law

27 July 2022 Law360 News

Foley & Lardner LLP Associate Katelynn Williams is quoted in the Law360 article, “As Temperatures Rise, W&H Laws Will Need to Evolve,” about how recent heat waves are spurring discussions of how wage and hour compliance laws will need to evolve with newly suggested workplace heat standards.

Williams, a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice, said that this is a fast-developing area of occupational safety and health law, and employers could benefit from the certainty an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule would provide.

“We can expect the standard to touch on things like how frequently do employees need to get breaks? At what temperature are the expectations for employer actions going to kick in?” she said.

Williams added that how the specifics of national heat break standards will dovetail with wage and hour requirements is still to be determined.

She said, “As far as best practice now, employers should be providing breaks to employees who are in high risk heat situations. And if those breaks are five to 20 minutes, the FLSA steps in and basically says they need to be paid.”

Williams added that is remains to be seen how OSHA will address heat-related break time and pay for workers who are paid by production.

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