Update: After Nevada OSHA said he posed a possible workplace safety hazard, the state Assembly has voted to oust Rep. Steven Brooks from his elected office.
Brooks becomes the first assemblyman ever expelled in Nevada.
After a special committee 6-1 recommended his expulsion, the full Assembly took a voice vote. Only a few nays could be heard objecting to Brooks’ dismissal.
Majority Leader William Horne chaired the committee and said Brooks has continued to engage in “unpredictable behavior.”
“How dare they,” Brooks said to the Associated Press when told of the vote to oust him. The former lawmaker said some of his opponents were trying to kill him, but he wouldn’t say who.
How did this become an OSHA case? An anonymous complaint of an “unstable and dangerous employee” prompted the Nevada Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration to investigate.
(SNA’s original story follows):
If you made a list of your top workplace hazards, what would they be? Would a person be one of your top hazards? Nevada OSHA got involved in the case of a lawmaker who has been arrested twice by police in the last month.
Nevada state legislative staffers were notified by Nevada OSHA that it had received an anonymous complaint of a workplace hazard involving “an unstable and dangerous employee.”
The safety agency gave the Legislature a deadline to conduct its own investigation and take action.
The lawmaker in question, Assemblyman Steven Brooks (D), was arrested on Jan. 19 for allegedly making threatening comments about Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick.
Two days later, Brooks was detained by police and sent to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation after a disturbance at a relative’s house involving a sword.
On Feb. 10, Brooks was arrested on suspicion of alleged domestic battery.
The Legislature told Nevada OSHA that to provide a safe work environment in the capitol building it had:
- beefed up security
- deactivated Brooks’ key card, and
- installed panic alarm buttons for various employees.
When Brooks was sworn into office early in 2013, he was kept under a tight police escort. Brooks has since been banned from the legislative building and placed on leave. Lawmakers have appointed a special committee to consider Brooks’ future, including hearings on whether he is fit to hold office. Brooks could be expelled from the legislature with a two-thirds vote of the Assembly.
Brooks’ lawyer says his client intends to fight efforts to oust him from the Assembly.
Nevada OSHA now says it’s satisfied with how legislative employees dealt with the situation. “With this information, OSHA feels the case can be closed on the grounds that the hazardous conditions have been corrected or no longer exist,” said a letter from the agency.
Federal and state OSHAs do investigate situations involving workplace violence. In September 2011, federal OSHA issued new enforcement procedures for its inspectors to investigate alleged incidents of workplace violence.