Temporary assignment: Labor commissioner plans ground-up review

published in The Journal Record | March 31, 2016

Melissa McLawhorn HoustonOklahoma Labor Commissioner Melissa McLawhorn Houston was the featured guest speaker at EmployerLINC2016, McAfee & Taft’s annual labor, employment and employee benefits seminar, in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, March 30, 2016.

Reporter Brian Brus from The Journal Record covered the event and the commissioner’s presentation, “Enforcement Priorities at the Oklahoma Department of Labor.” In the article, Houston was quoted as saying she wants to define her position as a partnership with private business operations and the public, serving as a facilitator who can help avoid conflicts while ensuring market fairness, safety and security.

One example of this type of partnership is a free and confidential program offered by the Oklahoma Department of Labor called “Safety Pays,” which involves walking Oklahoma employers through a sample OSHA inspection as a means to help companies reduce OSHA violations and fines.

“People don’t set out to harm the public or place their employees in danger,” said Houston. “We’re asking ourselves how we can work with them and provide our expertise and knowledge to achieve our goals of public safety. And what we’re trying to do is be as transparent as possible in the process. I don’t believe in ‘gotcha’ regulations.”