James J. Sullivan, Jr.

Co-Chair, OSHA-Workplace Safety Practice

Prior to re-joining Cozen O’ Connor in 2021, Jim served as the chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Jim was first appointed by President Trump to fill the remaining portion of a vacancy on the commission in May 2017 and was later appointed by the president as chairman of the agency and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in July 2019. As chairman, Jim was in charge of an independent, quasi-judicial federal agency that is not part of OSHA or the U.S. Department of Labor and conducts trials and appeals over litigation brought by the U.S. Department of Labor against employers. During Jim’s tenure on the commission, he participated in several landmark decisions including cases involving OSHA’s Process Safety Management Standard and OSHA’s use of the statute’s “General Duty Clause” in prosecuting cases against employers involving workplace violence, heat stress, and other workplace hazards.

Prior to his service with the commission, Jim had a distinguished career in private practice for nearly four decades in labor and employment and workplace safety and health law working with clients in a wide range of industries. From 2000 to 2003, Jim served as vice-president of labor and employment law and deputy general counsel for Comcast. During that time he also served as the corporation’s chief spokesperson at collective bargaining negotiations with the Teamsters, Electrical Workers, and Communication Workers’ unions.

Jim advises clients on high stakes matters before all three branches of government, including regulatory and enforcement matters and litigation involving  several administrative agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and various state OSHA offices in cases involving significant citations and litigation as well as the National Labor Relations Board and numerous state and federal courts. He has extensive experience representing employers in union-related matters, including unfair labor practice proceedings, collective bargaining negotiations, grievance/arbitration hearings, and union representation matters.

Jim has significant experience in construction labor matters and has represented members of both Associated General Contractors and Associated Builders and Contractors in unfair labor practice litigation, as well as matters involving multi-employer pension and health and welfare funds and before state regulatory agencies. He has served as national labor and employment counsel for wide range of clients in the transportation/warehousing, steel manufacturing, and health care industries and is recognized as one of the leading authorities in occupational safety and health matters. He is the former management chair of the ABA Occupational Safety and Health Committee of the Labor and Employment Law Section.

Jim is a frequent speaker on workplace safety and health matters and he has spoken before such organizations as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, Associated General Contractors, Inc., and various other employer trade associations.



Proposal Would Expand Authorized Participants in Worksite Inspections

August 29, 2023

James Sullivan was quoted in SHRM discussing a new proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Labor to broaden who can be authorized to accompany OSHA compliance officers during workplace inspections.

Lawyers say NYC’s lifted vaccine mandate for athletes, performers poses legal liability

March 25, 2022

Jim Sullivan was quoted in City & State New York discussing New York City's Mayor Eric Adams lifting the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for performers and athletes while keeping it in place for all other private and public employees.

Federal Heat Stress Worker Protection Rule Faces Legal Fires

March 10, 2022

Jim Sullivan spoke with Bloomberg Law about potential legal problems that loom for OSHA's proposed worker heat protection rule.

OSHRC Clarifies ‘Bounds’ Of Single-Employer Doctrine In New Decision

March 07, 2022

Jim Sullivan spoke with Inside OSHA about a new decision from the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission that appears aimed at clarifying the limits of its test for determining when separate entities may be considered a “single employer” in OSHA enforcement actions.

Supreme Court strikes down Biden vaccine mandate, but ruling has limits

January 13, 2022

Jim Sullivan spoke with KYW Newsradio about the recent Supreme Court decision to block the vaccine-or-test mandate from President Joe Biden’s administration but allow vaccine mandates for most health care workers.

OSHRC Widens Leeway For Employers’ ‘Good Faith’ Faults In Litigation

January 12, 2022

Jim Sullivan spoke with Inside OSHA about OSHA's decision in Secretary of Labor v. Knock Out Homes, Inc. which reinstates a Colorado construction company’s appeal of several OSHA citations with a proposed penalty of $41,349, overturning an administrative law judge’s (ALJ) default judgment against the employer over its failure to respond to the proceeding.

Omicron could force many workers who test positive to quarantine under federal mandate, intensifying labor shortages

December 28, 2021

James Sullivan spoke with Yahoo! finance about the impact the omicron variant is having on employers.

Return to office paused (again) as COVID rages. Will we ever go back to the office?

December 23, 2021

Jim Sullivan was quoted in USA Today discussing the latest on the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

OSHRC Mandates Fall Protections For Road Work But Leaves Methods Open

December 21, 2021

Jim Sullivan was quoted in Inside OSHA discussing a new decision by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) that road construction companies must adopt fall-protection measures for employees working from the backs of moving vehicles.

OSHA Sets Jan. 10 ETS Deadline After Split 6th Circuit Panel Lifts Stay

December 20, 2021

Jim Sullivan spoke with Inside OSHA about how OSHA plans to start enforcing its COVID-19 vaccination emergency temporary standard (ETS) on January 10, with employer vaccine policies to take effect February. 9 -- provided employers make “good faith efforts” to comply -- after a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit voted 2-1 to dissolve an earlier order staying the rule.

NYC Shot Mandate Built to Withstand Suits, Lawyers Say

December 07, 2021

Jim Sullivan spoke with Bloomberg Law about New York City's newly announced COVID-19 vaccination mandate for private-sector workers.

Constitutional Claims a Threat to COVID-19 Shot-or-Test Rule

November 23, 2021

Jim Sullivan was quoted in Bloomberg Law discussing the OSHA ETS on the COVID-19 vaccine.

Stakeholders Want Specific Guidelines from OSHA Heat Standard

November 16, 2021

Jim Sullivan was quoted in SHRM discussing the new OSHA standards in place by the Biden administration with heat-related dangers in the workplace.

Biden’s vaccine mandate will require most Philly-area private sector workers to get a jab

November 04, 2021

Jim Sullivan was quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer discussing the latest on the emergency safety rules from the Biden administration that workers must be vaccinated by January 4 or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

East Tennessee companies await federal vaccine mandate guidance before they set new rules

September 16, 2021

James Sullivan was quoted in the Knoxville News Sentinel discussing the challenges companies face with President Biden's COVID-19 mandate.

Labor unions, a key Democratic ally, lukewarm on Biden vaccine mandate

September 12, 2021

James Sullivan was quoted in Yahoo! News discussing two executive orders that would mandate vaccines for more than two-thirds of working Americans.

Some businesses welcome Biden's vaccination mandate while others worry about the costs, effects on worker shortages

September 12, 2021

James Sullivan was quoted in the USA Today discussing President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate for firms with 100 or more employees.

U.S. companies are reacting differently to orders

September 12, 2021

James Sullivan spoke with Texas News Today about President Biden's COVID-19 vaccination obligations for companies with more than 100 employees.

What do Biden’s new COVID-19 requirements mean for North Texas businesses? Here’s what we know

September 10, 2021

James Sullivan spoke with The Dallas Morning News to discuss if President Biden's new COVID-19 vaccine requirements are legal for private businesses.

Employers Appeal OSHA Virus Citations at Five Times Typical Rate

April 19, 2021

Jim Sullivan was quoted in Bloomberg Law discussing employers filing appeals of COVID-19 citations with OSHA.

Former OSHRC Chair Sees Precedent Shaping OSHA’s COVID-19 Plans

April 05, 2021

Jim Sullivan was quoted in Inside OSHA Online discussing the Biden administration's OSHA plan.

Cozen O’Connor Welcomes Back James J. Sullivan, Jr., Former Chairman, Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission to the Firm’s Labor and Employment Department

March 25, 2021

Sullivan will be joining the Washington, D.C., office as a member of the Labor & Employment Department and as co-chair of the OSHA-Workplace Safety Practice Group.


Wildfire Smoke Exposure: What are an Employer’s Obligations? [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

June 08, 2023

When it became apparent yesterday that the wildfire smoke cascading throughout parts of the Northeastern United States was having a serious health effect on anyone outside and exposed to the harmful particulates contained in such smoke, certain outside activities were simply canceled, such as the...

Can an employer prevent a Section 11(c) whistleblower from getting double damages in a settlement agreement and release of a related claim? Maybe. [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

November 17, 2022

In a recent decision in the Eastern District of New York, Walsh v. Community Health Center of Richmond, Inc., et al., 21-CV-3094 (ARR)(TAM), the court held that OSHA has the right to pursue individual damages for a Complainant under Section 11(c) even though a prior federal action brought by...

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Issues Guidebook on Protecting Temporary Workers [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

July 22, 2022

The use of “leased” employees continues to skyrocket. Between 1992 and 2017, it is estimated that the number of people working for employee leasing firms increased 682%, from 341,884 to 2.7 million. There are a variety of reasons companies use leased employees. However, host businesses should be...

Release of New Proposed Rules: Electronic Submittal of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses to OSHA [Alert]

March 30, 2022

Jim Sullivan, John Ho, and Anne Greene discuss OSHA's new proposed rules regarding electronic recordkeeping requirements.

Supreme Court Allows CMS Vaccine Directive To Go Forward [Alert]

January 19, 2022

Anne Greene, John Ho, and Jim Sullivan discuss the Supreme Court decision to allow the CMS vaccine directive to go forward.

Designating Unvaccinated Employees as a ‘Direct Threat’ to Others [Bloomberg Law]

January 12, 2022

James Sullivan authored an article about if an unvaccinated employee is a “direct threat” to the health and safety of themselves or others in the workplace.

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Lifts OSHA’s ETS Stay: What Now? [Alert]

December 21, 2021

John Ho and Jim Sullivan discuss the Sixth Circuit lifting the Fifth Circuit's stay of OSHA’s general duty COVID Emergency Testing Standard.

A Glimpse Into OSHA Today and Tomorrow [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

December 16, 2021

To state the obvious, the pandemic has resulted in completely unexpected change across the country in so many ways. OSHA’s visibility and role are probably one of the most significant changes to any federal agency. Prior to the pandemic, most businesses outside of specific industries like...

NYC Implements Wide-Ranging Pandemic Restrictions, Including Private Sector Vaccine Mandate [Alert}

December 09, 2021

John Ho, Janice Agresti, and Jim Sullivan discuss Mayor de Blasio's expansion to the “Key to New York City” program.

Florida Law Prohibits Vaccination Mandate Without Five Specific Individual Exemptions [Alert]

November 23, 2021

John Ho and Jim Sullivan discuss Florida Governor DeSantis’s recent legislation banning employers from mandating COVID-19 vaccinations unless several exemptions are offered to employees.

5th Circuit Continues Stay of OSHA ETS – What Do Employers Do Now? [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

November 15, 2021

As we reported a day after the November 5, 2021, effective date of OSHA’s ETS, the Fifth Circuit issued a temporary stay of the ETS pending further proceedings. On November 12, 2021, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit continued the stay in a 22-page decision that contained numerous quotes and...

California Employers Can Let Cal/OSHA Know Federal OSHA COVID-19 ETS Potential Workplace Impacts [Alert]

November 15, 2021

Ed Langhammer, John Ho, and Jim Sullivan discuss Cal/OSHA agenda item “Proposed Emergency Safety Orders for Adoption,” and how California employers can weigh in on how these regulations will impact them.

Court Affirms Stay of OSHA Vaccinate-or-Test Emergency Temporary Standard [Alert]

November 15, 2021

John Ho and Jim Sullivan discuss the Fifth Circuit's stay of OSHA's ETS and what happens next.

OSHA Publishes General Industry Emergency Temporary Standard [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

November 05, 2021

OSHA’s long-awaited general industry COVID-19 emergency temporary standard (“ETS”) was officially published today and became effective immediately for employers in those states without “state OSHA” plans. However, employers covered by federal OSHA still have until December 5, 2021, to comply with...

OSHA Publishes Its Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Heat Stress [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

October 28, 2021

On October 27, 2021, OSHA published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“ANPRM”) to initiate a comment period to gather diverse perspectives and expertise on heat stress issues such as heat stress thresholds, heat acclimatization planning, and exposure monitoring. OSHA has been talking about...

Lawsuits Fighting OSHA Covid-19 Vaccine Standard May Not Matter [Bloomberg Law]

September 24, 2021

Jim Sullivan authored an article detailing that six of just nine emergency temporary standards issued by OSHA since the 1970s have been challenged in courts, and only one has been upheld.

More than 100 Employees? Mandatory Vaccinations or Weekly Testing Soon To Be Required Under OSHA’s Forthcoming Emergency Temporary Standard [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

September 10, 2021

On September 9, 2021, the Department of Labor announced plans to issue an emergency temporary standard (“ETS”) requiring employers with more than 100 employees to ensure that every employee is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or tests negative every week. Although neither the White House nor the...

White House Announces OSHA ETS Mandating Vaccinations or Weekly Testing for Most Workers [Alert]

September 10, 2021

Jim Sullivan discusses Biden's EO mandating all employers with more than 100 employees require every employee to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or to test negative every week.

In the absence of any grave danger, OSHA still issues a COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard but limits its coverage to healthcare and provides new guidance to all other employers [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

June 11, 2021

On May 26, 2021, we told our readers that we thought that although an “emergency” no longer existed about OSHA’s need to regulate employers’ handling of the COVID-19 virus, OSHA would nonetheless still issue an emergency temporary standard (ETS) due to immense political pressure on the Department...

Are We Ever Going To See A COVID-19 ETS And, If So, What Will It Look Like? My Meeting With The White House This Week Didn’t Reveal Much [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

May 26, 2021

The one question on everyone’s mind is when, if ever, will employers learn whether OSHA will actually issue the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) that OSHA delivered to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget’s (“OMB”) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (“OIRA”) at...

To Mask or Unmask; that is the Question [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

May 19, 2021

Every business in the United States has been asking itself these past few days whether to drop any requirements it may have for visitors or employees to wear face masks since the CDC changed its COVID-19 guidance related to masks and physical distancing for individuals who are fully vaccinated on...

Need an Infectious Disease Prevention Plan? In New York, You Soon Will under the HERO Act [Alert]

May 14, 2021

John Ho, Jim Sullivan, and Anne Greene discuss New York's HERO Act and what employers should do now to comply.

An Infectious Disease Prevention Plan and Workplace Safety Committee: Two New Significant Requirements Under New York’s HERO Act [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

May 10, 2021

On May 5, 2021, Governor Cuomo of New York signed the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (the “Act”) into law which amends the New York Labor Law. The Act creates occupational safety and health standards in the private sector for all airborne infectious diseases, including but not limited to...

OSHA’s COVID-19 ETS Expected Soon – Too Little, Too Late? [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

April 28, 2021

On April 26, OSHA sent its COVID-19 emergency temporary standard (ETS) to the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for review. OIRA is the regulatory “gatekeeper” that is required, under various executive orders, to review proposed rules from...

OSHA Adds a New Consideration for Employers Related to Adverse Reactions to Vaccines [Alert]

April 26, 2021

John Ho and James Sullivan discuss OSHA's guidance for employers considering requiring employees to get vaccinated.

Adverse Vaccine Reaction: An OSHA Recordable Event or Not? [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

April 23, 2021

As more businesses reopen without restrictions and increased availability of vaccine supplies, many employers contemplate a mandatory vaccine policy. The decision turns on individualized facts to each organization, such as the employer's size, the industry, the nature of the employee's duties, and...

Employers are being Cited by OSHA for Failing to Comply with the Respiratory Protection Standard and Not just Healthcare Industry Employers [HR Headaches Blog]

April 15, 2021

Both federal and state OSHA regulators have been regularly citing employers for failure to comply with their respective respiratory protection standards in connection with COVID-19 inspections and these citations have not been restricted to the healthcare industry. OSHA's Respiratory Protection...

Why was OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard Placed in “Limbo” by Secretary of Labor Walsh? [OSHA Chronicle Blog]

April 08, 2021

On January 21, 2021, President Biden signed an executive order directing OSHA to consider issuing an Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) related to COVID-19. If the ETS is deemed necessary, the executive order instructed OSHA to issue it by March 15, 2021. Now, nearly three and a half weeks past...


  • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1980
  • Pennsylvania State University, B.A., cum laude, 1977

Awards & Honors

The Best Lawyers in America, Employment and Labor Law, 2012-2017

Client Choice Award Winner, 2015


  • Delaware
  • Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Labor and Section Committee on Occupational Safety and Health Law ABA, former management chairman.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Labor Relations Committee

Former Board Member, National Kidney Foundation of Southeastern Pennsylvania

Former Board member, New Castle County Delaware Board of Elections