On August 31, 2017, a federal judge in Texas annulled the Obama administration’s controversial rule on expanding overtime practices to millions of “white collar” workers. The rule would have raised the minimum threshold requirements to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “white collar” exemption to just over $47,000 per year and increase the overtime threshold for highly compensated workers from $100,000 per year to about $134,000 per year. Judge Amos Mazzant granted the summary judgment to the Plano Chamber of Commerce and other business groups that challenged the 2016 ruling. When the regulation was first announced, Texas, Nevada, and 19 other states also filed a suit challenging the rule. Their case was consolidated into the lawsuit filed by the business groups.
On Wednesday, August 23, 2017, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) filed an appeal with the Administrative Review Board (ARB), officially challenging a recent decision denying the agency access to some of the documents it sought as part of its highly-publicized review of the compensation practices at Google Inc.’s headquarters location.
On July 14, 2017, Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Steven Berlin issued a recommended administrative decision in the publicity-generating case between Google and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). For those who have been following along, you know OFCCP sued Google in early January for access to additional employee pay data and employee contact information for more than 20,000 employees as part of a routine compliance review of Google’s headquarters.
The Department of Labor (DOL) announced on June 27, 2017, it will resume the issuance of Wage and Hour Opinion Letters. This change gives the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) a platform that provides guidance to covered employers and employees.
It’s too expensive to prove there is no gender pay gap. This is Google’s argument following their refusal to turn over compensation data to the U.S. Department of Labor, highlighted on social media and various publications following a recent hearing before a DOL administrative law judge (ALJ). However, there’s another argument not receiving nearly as much buzz—Google has a constitutional right to raise a lawful defense against a request that, in its opinion, is unreasonable and goes beyond the scope of the DOL’s investigation.
Last week, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new program under the recently signed HIRE Vets Act to recognize employers taking a proactive approach to recruiting and employing Veterans. When announcing the program, newly appointed Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said, “…veterans have a wide range of abilities that make them tremendous assets for the American economy and for any employer.”
Alexander Acosta, President Trump’s second Secretary of Labor nominee, was confirmed by the Senate this week. Acosta is the first Hispanic to join President Trump’s cabinet and the final cabinet secretary to be confirmed, allowing President Donald Trump to have all cabinet secretaries in place by his 100th day in office. One cabinet-level position, U.S. trade representative, is still open.
Alexander Acosta, President Trump’s second Secretary of Labor nominee, is one step closer to being confirmed. After a somewhat contentious hearing last week, Acosta’s nomination was approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Thursday, March 30, 2017. As expected, the vote fell along party lines, with 12 Republicans voting to confirm and 11 Democrats voting against his confirmation.
As expected, President Trump signed the Congressional Review Act resolution invalidating the FAR Council regulations implementing President Obama’s 2014 Executive Order 13673: Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces, often called the “blacklisting” executive order. President Trump also issued an executive order officially revoking Executive Order 13673 and instructing federal agencies to “promptly” rescind any regulations or guidances issued under it. The president’s actions effectively terminate implementation of these controversial rules.
President Trump released his 2018 budget blueprint on March 16. The budget includes significant funding increases for defense spending, with the Department of Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs receiving budget boosts. Noting the “need to rebuild the Nation’s military without increasing the deficit,” most other agencies, including the Department of Labor, face budget reductions.