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Criminal Prosecution of Environmental and Workplace Safety Incidents Through DOJ's New Worker Endangerment Initiative

Article | July 2016

This article in the Environmental Enforcement and Crimes Committee Newsletter for the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources provides background and insight into the Worker Endangerment Initiative. The Initiative was announced in December 2015 by Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Sally Yates to guide federal prosecutors to use environmental criminal statutes and Title 18 with relevant worker protection statutes to address workplace safety. Notably, the Initiative was announced on the heels of another 2015 memorandum by DAG Yates that requires the government to pursue individual culpability in corporate investigations. Following these two memorandum, corporations should expect that the government will initiate a preliminary criminal investigation into both the corporation and its employees after any major environmental or workplace accident.

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