Labor secretary nominee Acosta advances to full Senate

March 30, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of labor has been approved by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Alexander Acosta now advances to the full Senate for a final confirmation vote.

Acosta, a former National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) member, generally has been praised by the employer community. He has a deep understanding of labor and employment issues and should be able to hit the ground running if confirmed, said Leslie E. Silverman, a shareholder at Fortney & Scott and contributor to Federal Employment Law Insider.

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‘Breathtakingly radical’: Acosta questions legality of any overtime threshold

March 23, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of labor has questioned whether the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has the authority to set any salary threshold for overtime pay—not just the pending increase that would raise the threshold to $47,476.

Alexander Acosta volunteered that concern twice during his March 22 confirmation hearing, despite no questions from lawmakers to that effect. A former DOL economist who worked under President Barack Obama called Acosta’s statements “breathtakingly radical,” noting that an overtime threshold has been in place since 1938.

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Trump proposes ‘substantial’ DOL budget cut

March 17, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) would see a nearly 21 percent reduction in funding under the White House’s proposed 2018 discretionary spending budget, which was released March 16.

“A 21 percent cut is very substantial,” according to H. Juanita Beecher, of counsel with Fortney & Scott in Washington, D.C., and an editor of Federal Employment Law Insider. It’s unclear, however, which DOL subagencies will be affected, she said.

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Employers face uncertainty over ‘less disruptive’ new travel ban, H-1B delay

March 07, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

The Trump administration recently implemented two major changes to its immigration policies, and the full effect for employers remains to be seen. Between a replacement Executive Order (EO) on immigration and the suspension of the fast-track process for H-1B (highly skilled) worker visas, employers and foreign employees may soon face new hurdles, albeit fewer than under the original immigration EO.

President Donald Trump signed the new EO on immigration March 6, rolling back parts of his original order. The first EO, issued January 27, barred travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, arguably including permanent U.S. residents, for 90 days. It also placed a 120-day hold on the U.S. refugee program, prevented even individuals who already had received refugee status from entering the country, and adopted a new religious test for refugees that had the effect of prioritizing non-Muslims.

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Employers advised to stay up to date on legal trends affecting transgender rights

February 23, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The Trump administration’s action rescinding guidance to public schools on restroom policies for transgender students sends a different signal than guidance from federal agencies dealing with employment, but the real message for employers is to stay tuned.

On February 22, the Trump administration revoked Obama administration guidelines that advised public schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms corresponding to their gender identity instead of their gender assigned at birth. The Trump administration’s new guidance now puts the question of restroom access on states and school districts.

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Employment lawyers like new Trump pick to head DOL

February 16, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

President Donald Trump has nominated Alexander Acosta, a former National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) member, to serve as secretary of labor. The announcement came less than 24 hours after Trump’s first choice, Andrew Puzder, withdrew from the approval process.

Acosta, who is currently the dean of the Florida International University College of Law, is well qualified for the position, experts say. He was nominated to the NLRB by President George W. Bush and later served as assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, which means he has a good understanding of how agencies operate, according to David S. Fortney, a founder of Fortney & Scott and an editor of Federal Employment Law Insider.

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Trump taps former NLRB member to head DOL after Puzder withdraws

February 16, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

UPDATE: President Trump has nominated Alexander Acosta, a former National Labor Relations Board member, to serve as Secretary of Labor. The announcement came less than 24 hours after Trump’s first choice withdrew from the approval process.

Acosta is currently dean of the Florida International University College of Law. He was nominated to the board by President George W. Bush and later served as assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

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Advocacy groups challenge Trump’s 2-for-1 regulation requirement

February 09, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

Three liberal advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit alleging that President Donald Trump’s 2-for-1 regulation mandate violates the U.S. Constitution and directs agencies to violate federal law.

In a January 30 Executive Order, Trump instructed federal agencies to cut two regulations for every new one issued during the current fiscal year. He said the order is aimed at alleviating the regulatory burdens businesses face.

Now, consumer group Public Citizen is challenging the Executive Order, joined by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Communications Workers of America. In a February 8 complaint, the groups alleged the order violates the Constitution and requires federal agencies to violate both the laws they implement and the Administrative Procedure Act.

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Stakeholders get more time to comment on EEOC’s harassment guidance

February 06, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

Stakeholders now have until March 21 to comment on proposed antiharassment guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The move is in line with the new administration’s overall approach of pausing Obama administration initiatives and taking time to evaluate them, said Jonathan Mook, a founding partner of DiMuro Ginsberg PC and an editor of Virginia Employment Law Letter. Given the change in administration, it makes sense to provide stakeholders more time, he said.

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DOL’s health insurance marketplace form is now expired . . . but fear not

February 01, 2017 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

Employers have a lot to worry about these days. Fortunately, the expiration of the marketplace notice form issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) isn’t something else to add to the list.

The form, New Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options and Your Health Coverage, comes in two versions: one for employers that offer some sort of health coverage and one for employers that don’t. Both versions of the form expired on Tuesday, January 31.

The DOL hasn’t issued new versions, and with the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in doubt, it’s unclear whether the agency will. Fortunately, employers may continue using the old versions of the forms for now without risk of penalty.

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