A gallon of gas, a gallon of milk, your mortgage, the size of a Toblerone: virtually everything we pay for is affected by inflation—including regulatory fines. That’s right: in case you missed it, both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Federal Trade Commission have raised their maximum penalties, and F&I personnel at your automotive dealership should take note.
The moves follow the passage of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. A bipartisan effort, the law requires United States agencies to increase the penalties imposed on non-compliant organizations to keep up with the costs of everything else. Otherwise, policymakers seem to believe, there’s less incentive to follow the rules.
OSHA has increased the maximum fine for other-than-serious and serious violations from $7,000 to $12,675. And the maximum penalty for willful and/or repeat violations has jumped proportionately, from $70,000 to $126,749.
If these new fines, which are nearly double or triple what they were previously, seem excessive to you, keep in mind the agencies are playing “catch-up”: they’re adjusting for all the years they missed before the new law was enacted. …Which also means that we should expect raises to the maximum amounts every year.
Don’t like it? Blame inflation.
If you have any questions about these fines—or any regulatory matter—make sure to get in touch with one of our compliance experts.