New General Counsel expected to set new probusiness agenda for NLRB

November 09, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A much more business-friendly atmosphere is expected at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) now that the U.S. Senate has confirmed Peter B. Robb as the Board’s General Counsel.

Robb, a management-side attorney with a Vermont law firm, won confirmation on a 49-46 party-line vote on November 8. He is President Donald Trump’s choice to replace Richard F. Griffin Jr., whose term as General Counsel expired on October 31. Griffin, nominated by President Barack Obama, began his tenure on November 4, 2013. Before Griffin, another Democratic nominee, Lafe Solomon, held the post.

With Robb on board as General Counsel, the five-member NLRB not only has a Republican majority of members, but it also has a Republican “quarterback,” says Kevin C. McCormick, chair of the labor and employment section of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, L.L.P., in Baltimore, Maryland, and editor of Maryland Employment Law Letter. As General Counsel, Robb will set the tone for the NLRB since the General Counsel is responsible for selecting cases the Board will hear.

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New Executive Order seeks to expand health insurance options

October 12, 2017 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

After several failed legislative attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Donald Trump is now taking matters into his own hands.

On October 12, Trump signed a new Executive Order (EO) designed to “expand choices and alternatives to Obamacare plans and increase competition to bring down costs for consumers,” according to a White House press release.

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New guidance shifts federal policy on religious liberty in employment

October 10, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

New guidance from Attorney General Jeff Sessions on religious liberty in employment “signals a shift in federal employment law and policy,” according to an attorney who focuses on employment law.

Sessions issued the new guidance to all administrative agencies and executive departments on October 6. It identifies 20 principles that administrative agencies and executive departments are to use “to ensure the religious freedoms of Americans are lawfully protected,” according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

J. Steven Massoni, a contributor to Kansas Employment Law Letter and attorney with Foulston Siefkin LLP in Wichita, Kansas, says the new guidance, which purports to expand the religious exemption in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, represents a change at the federal level. However, he says “it remains to be seen” what effect the DOJ’s guidance may have on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) position in cases involving religious liberty in employment. The EEOC interprets and enforces Title VII, which, among other things, prohibits discrimination based on religion.

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Suit filed over Trump’s phaseout of DACA: what employers should know

September 06, 2017 - by: Holly Jones 0 COMMENTS

On September 5, President Donald Trump announced that the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be phased out over the next six months.

In response, 11 states and the District of Columbia have filed suit, alleging that the repeal of DACA violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the federal Administrative Procedure Act.

As observers await the next steps, the DACA controversy is rapidly becoming reminiscent of the travel ban efforts from earlier this year.

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New immigration bill called radical and not proemployment

August 04, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Immigration snipThe new immigration bill President Donald Trump touts as a way to “restore our competitive edge in the 21st century” calls for cutting immigration levels in half over a decade and creating a points-based system that favors highly educated and skilled immigrants with English ability over those with family in the United States. The bill may never become law or undergo significant changes, but its current form is drawing criticism from some in the employer community.

Although the bill, dubbed the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, seeks to reward immigrants who have in-demand job skills, it’s “not a pro-employment bill,” according to an attorney who works with employers in need of foreign workers.

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New bill latest effort to tackle definition of joint employment

July 28, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

NLRB logoThe definition of “joint employment” may be heading for another turnaround. Legislation introduced in Congress on July 27 takes aim at a 2015 National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision that raised the ire of many in the business community, especially employers that work with franchisees, contractors, and staffing agencies.

The NLRB’s 2015 Browning-Ferris decision broadened the joint-employment standard so that a business that exercises only indirect control over another employer’s workers still can be considered a joint employer for purposes of collective bargaining. The new bill introduced in the House—dubbed the Save Local Business Act—seeks to clarify the joint-employment standard and provide relief to businesses that are in a relationship with another employer.

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DOL seeking feedback on long-debated overtime rule

July 25, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Overtime snipEmployers will get the opportunity to offer feedback on changes to the regulation governing which workers are eligible for overtime pay after the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) publishes a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register on July 26.

On July 25, the DOL announced it would publish the RFI and released a preliminary copy. The RFI is the latest action on a rule issued in May 2016 during the Obama administration. Implementation of the rule would have added approximately 4.2 million employees to the ranks of workers eligible for overtime pay of at least 1½ times their regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek.

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DOL drops defense of overtime rules

June 30, 2017 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

by Susan Prince, JD, MSL

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), headed by new Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, has decided not to defend the overtime rules finalized under the Obama administration. Instead, the DOL will seek to begin a new rulemaking process, likely with a lower salary threshold for overtime exemptions.

Background

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CBO: Senate GOP health bill cuts deficit, adds to uninsured

June 27, 2017 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have completed an estimate of the direct spending and revenue effects of the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.

The CBO and the JCT estimate that enacting the legislation would reduce the cumulative federal deficit by $321 billion from 2017 to 2026. That amount is $202 billion more than the estimated net savings from the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which was passed by the House in May. The additional savings largely come from steeper reductions to Medicaid than those proposed by the House bill as well as changes to the current subsidies for nongroup health insurance provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

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Supreme Court ruling allows ‘travel ban’ Executive Order to take limited effect

June 26, 2017 - by: Holly Jones 0 COMMENTS

On June 26, the last day of the current term, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to determine whether the “travel ban” Executive Order’s (EO) focus on primarily Muslim countries violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and whether the EO exceeds President Donald Trump’s authority granted by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The Court will hear the case in its next term, which begins in October. Because of two lower courts’ findings, the EO has been enjoined from taking effect since May.

Meanwhile, the Court also addressed and limited the existing injunctions on the EO. In particular, the EO’s provisions barring entry of people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen may take effect, but only for people “who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

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