OSHA Assistant Administrator Edwin Foulke Jr.

Foulke Reportedly Leaving OSHA on Sunday

Unconfirmed reports from a Washington, D.C., safety and health insider and a brief item posted yesterday at the OSHA Underground blog say Edwin Foulke Jr. will leave his post as OSHA chief on Sunday. He has accepted a job with the law firm Fisher & Phillips LLP, according to this blog; the insider said three contacts confirmed to him that Foulke will work in the law firm's Atlanta office. OSHA public affairs officers did not return several calls on Wednesday seeking confirmation of the reports.

Foulke is a lawyer who was sworn in as OSHA's leader on April 3, 2006. He previously was a partner in the Greenville, S.C., and Washington, D.C., offices of Jackson Lewis LLP, where he chaired the OSHA practice group. Jackson Lewis is a leader in advising employers how to keep labor unions from organizing their workers.

From 1990 to 1995, Foulke served on the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, and he chaired it from March 1990 to February 1994. President Bush nominated Foulke to head OSHA on Sept. 15, 2005, and the Senate confirmed him on March 15, 2006. He probably would have been replaced by whoever won the presidency and took office in January 2009, but Barack Obama's victory virtually guarantees the leaders of OSHA, MSHA, and the U.S. Labor Department will be replaced.

Founded in 1943, Fisher & Phillips specializes in labor and employment, civil rights, employee benefits, and immigration law. The firm is offering free webinars for employers about changes that will take effect Jan. 1, 2009, in the Americans with Disabilities Act, including an expanded definition of who is disabled and may be entitled to accommodations. The webinars began Wednesday and are scheduled to continue until Dec. 9. For information, contact Amy Nall at anall@laborlawyers.com or 404-231-1400.

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