Senior Counsel, OSHA • Workplace Safety Practice Group
Detroit, MI Metro Area
Valerie Butera is Senior Counsel with Conn Maciel Carey LLP, working in the Detroit area, where she provides the full range of workplace safety and health law services to employers.
Ms. Butera has focused her legal career on the representation of employers and trade associations in workplace safety and health matters. She has extensive experience, both in private practice and in-house, working with a wide range of industries including chemical and petrochemical manufacturing and petroleum refining, automotive, electric utility, manufacturing, construction, railway, grain, retail, hospitality, healthcare, and food services. She litigates OSHA cases before state and federal agencies, courts and federal appellate courts and provides comprehensive OSHA counseling.
Ms. Butera litigates cases for employers cited by OSHA and State OSH Plans for alleged violations of numerous state and federal workplace safety regulations and provides catastrophe response assistance where necessary. She provides strategic guidance for employers managing the defense of OSHA citations with simultaneous related civil complaints, and she represents employers in whistleblower protection matters.
Ms. Butera minimizes client risks effectively and efficiently, providing comprehensive counsel for issues ranging from how best to navigate an OSHA inspection to the implementation of process safety management programs. Valerie also conducts or directs attorney-client privileged general safety and process safety management audits.
Ms. Butera was personally recognized among a short list of OSHA defense attorneys by Chambers USA in their 2022 and 2023 national rankings for the OSHA Law category nationwide.
Lead In-House OSHA Counsel for a Fortune 10 manufacturing company, advised and directed all aspects of compliance and litigation with state and federal OSHA.
Successfully petitioned the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission for interlocutory review. Petitions are granted only about once a decade. Commission granted relief requested by the employer and set precedent establishing a three-part test for determining when a third-party expert’s report is protected by the attorney-client privilege. The employer prevailed under the new test.
Defended several Fortune 500 companies against citations alleging process safety management and related violations arising from OSHA National Emphasis Programs.
Drafted numerous briefs for trade associations and employers before federal appellate courts on matters of significant importance, including a pre-enforcement challenge to a newly promulgated rule.
Drafted employer and trade group comments to OSHA Requests for Information and notice and comment rulemaking.
Conducted internal audit for major automotive manufacturer and counseled client on how to best use the audit results to increase employee safety and health. Client reported a 75% drop in unemployment costs as a result of this process.
Designed and implemented process safety management programs for Fortune 500 companies.
Preparing for an OSHA Inspection
Handling Employee Discipline and Discharge Issues During and OSHA Inspection
OSHA Topics in Healthcare
Federal OSHA and State Plans
J.D., University of Maryland School of Law, with honors, 2003
B.A., Hope College, 1997
District of Columbia
U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
American Bar Association, Occupational Safety and Health Law Committee
American Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Committee
Co-Chair Membership Development
Leadership Development Program Alumna
Past Co-Chair In-House Counsel Committee
Past Co-Chair Diversity Committee