DOL head nominee Perez: Workplace safety a top priority

April 18, 2013

Washington – Ensuring a safe work environment would be one of Thomas Perez’s top priorities if he is confirmed as secretary of labor, Perez said during an April 18 Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing.

Although he said his main focus would be “jobs, jobs, jobs,” Perez stressed that “job safety and job growth are not mutually exclusive.”

Much of the hearing focused on allegations that Perez, while heading the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, intervened to drop support for a whistleblower case because it would undermine a legal theory he supported. Perez deflected the allegations by noting the decision to drop support for the case was not his, but that of federal government career attorneys.

Under questioning from Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) on whether Perez would subjectively pick facts to uphold theories as it pertains to safety and health enforcement, Perez said no.

“If confirmed, I would apply the facts to the law,” Perez said. “You have my word: If confirmed we will conduct fair analyses and we will conduct fair investigations.”