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Total Articles: 73

An Update on the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule

The DOL’s much anticipated (or maligned depending on the audience) Fiduciary Rule expands the definition of what constitutes investment advice under ERISA and thereby increases the number and types of retirement plan service providers that are considered ERISA fiduciaries (see our prior coverage of the Fiduciary Rule here, here and here). It also imposes stringent compliance and disclosure requirements in order for those service providers to avoid breaching their ERISA fiduciary duties.

Department of Labor Plans to Revive Opinion Letters

The Department of Labor (DOL) has announced it plans to return to issuing opinion letters in response to employers' questions, a practice it had stopped in 2010 under the Obama administration. The action allows the DOL's Wage and Hour Division, which administers the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and other statutes, to again use opinion letters to provide guidance to covered employers and employees.

"On Second Thought, Maybe I Will Give You My Opinion": USDOL To Reinstate Opinion-Letter Process

TLDR: The U.S. Department of Labor will resume the practice of issuing wage-and-hour opinion letters. This is a big development for employers who are seeking authoritative guidance on their pay practices under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and other federal wage-hour laws.

DOL's Revival of Opinion Letters and Request for Input on Overtime Rules Welcome News for Employers

Executive Summary: The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced that it will return to the practice of issuing Opinion Letters in response to inquiries from businesses regarding federal wage and hour issues, a practice abandoned under the prior administration. The DOL has also taken affirmative steps to seek additional public comment on the overtime rules proposed last year, the legality of which is currently being challenged in federal court. Both developments should be welcome news to employers, as they signal that the Department will likely provide more guidance to businesses with respect to compliance under the FLSA and that it may be taking steps towards revising the proposed overtime rules.

eLABORate: Employers Welcome the Return of DOL Wage and Hour Opinion Letters

The U.S. Department of Labor today announced it will reinstate the issuance of opinion letters by its Wage and Hour Division. The announcement by U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta is a welcome development for employers, who had previously relied on these interpretive opinions in deciphering and complying with the oftentimes confusing requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).

Opinion Letters Are Back!

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage & Hour Division announced today that it is bringing back the WHD Opinion Letter.

DOL Opinion Letters Are Back

The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that it will reinstate the Department’s long-standing practice of issuing opinion letters to employers and employees regarding application of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Department of Labor Finalizes Claims and Appeals Regulations for Disability Benefits

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration has issued final regulations that change the claims and appeals procedures for disability benefits provided by ERISA plans. The final rules are substantially the same as the proposed rules the DOL had issued in November 2015 (which we covered in a prior alert). The requirements set forth in the final rules essentially mirror the requirements for non-grandfathered welfare plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, unlike the ACA’s enhanced claims procedures, these final rules amend ERISA’s claims regulations for all plans, and therefore apply to both grandfathered and non-grandfathered welfare plans, as well as retirement plans that offer disability benefits. According to the DOL, the rules are aimed at improving “basic procedural protections” for participants, and to foster transparency and accountability. Below is a summary of the major provisions of the final regulations.

Has The Dismantling of the Labor Regulatory Regime Commenced?

The Trump campaign promised regulatory reform, and most experts expected the new administration would target some of the Department of Labor regulations, enforcement actions, and guidances under the Obama administration that impacted the employer and employee relationship. As predicted, under the leadership of new Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, the DOL is reviewing and revising the current regulatory regime.

5 Key Considerations When Initiating a PERM Labor Certification for Your Employee

For most employers, sponsoring a foreign national employee for an employment-based green card requires filing a Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) labor certification with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In simple terms, an employer’s successful PERM labor certification demonstrates to the DOL that (1) the employer intends to pay the appropriate prevailing wage for the position in the geographical area, and (2) hiring a foreign national worker to fill the position will not adversely impact the U.S. labor market by displacing U.S. workers. Despite the seemingly intuitive nature of these two goals, the PERM labor certification process is anything but intuitive. In reality, the PERM process involves a set of technical, expensive, and highly time-consuming steps in combination with strict deadlines and complex strategies that extend over a period of typically six to eight months and, once approved, must remain effective well into the future.

USDOL Withdraws Independent-Contractor, Joint-Employment "Administrator Interpretations"

Administrator Interpretation No. 2016-1, entitled "Joint Employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act", about which we wrote last year, and

New Acting Solicitor of Labor Department Signals Emphasis on ‘Humility’

In some of his first public comments since taking office, Department of Labor Acting Solicitor Nicholas Geale has signaled a shift in policies, telling attendees at a Georgetown University Law Center event that his department will “listen to the regulated community a little more” from a position of a “little bit more humility.”

Labor Secretary Nominee Faces Committee Vote

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) will vote on whether to confirm R. Alexander Acosta as Labor Secretary on March 30, 2017.

Notes From Acosta Confirmation Hearing

U.S. Labor Secretary candidate Alexander Acosta's March 22 appearance before the Senate's Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee produced some interesting interchanges having to do with matters relating to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and other federal wage-hour provisions.

Senate HELP Committee Holds Confirmation Hearing for Nominee Acosta to Head Labor Department

The Senate Health, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee on March 22, 2017, held confirmation hearings on the nomination of R. Alexander Acosta, President Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Labor.

If at First You Don’t Succeed . . . Nominate a New Secretary of Labor

On March 22, 2017, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee conducted Secretary of Labor nominee Alex Acosta’s confirmation hearing. Acosta was nominated on February 16 after President Trump’s first choice for Secretary of Labor—former restaurant CEO Andy Puzder—withdrew his nomination. If confirmed, Acosta will be the first Hispanic cabinet-level member of the new administration.

DOL Announces Temporary Enforcement Policy and Proposes to Extend Application of Rules Under Best Interest Contract Exemption by 60 Days

In response to a February 3, 2017 memorandum by the President to the Secretary of Labor, on March 2, 2017, the DOL proposed to extend for 60 days the applicability date for final rules on the Best Interest Contract Exemption (the “BIC Exemption”), the Principal Transactions Exemption, certain other prohibited transaction exemptions, and the definition of who is a “fiduciary” under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code.

More About USDOL's Liquidated-Damages Policy

We wrote last December about our ongoing efforts to secure a copy of an undisclosed "policy" that various U.S. Department of Labor officials have referred to in insisting that an employer pay at least some amount in liquidated damages as a condition of resolving alleged federal Fair Labor Standards Act violations at the investigative level.

Confirmation Hearing Set for Secretary of Labor Nominee

The confirmation hearing for President Trump’s second Secretary of Labor nominee, Alex Acosta, has been set for March 15.

DOL Proposes to Delay Fiduciary and Beryllium Rules

In response to recent presidential directives, the U.S. Department of Labor is taking steps to delay the applicability and effective dates of two rules. First, the DOL's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has proposed to extend by 60 days the applicability date of the rule defining who is a “fiduciary” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). EBSA is also soliciting comments on the issues raised in President Trump's February 3, 2017 memorandum on the fiduciary duty rule, which called for the agency to update its economic and legal analysis regarding the rule's impact. Second, the DOL's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing to push back the effective date of its rule regulating occupational exposure to beryllium.

Who Is Alexander Acosta, and Will He Be the New Labor Secretary?

Within less than 24 hours following the withdrawal of Andrew Puzder, President Trump’s first choice to fill the position of Secretary of Labor, the president announced at a press conference on Thursday, February 16 that his new choice for U.S. Secretary of Labor is Alexander Acosta of Miami, Florida.

Trump Names New Nominee for Secretary of Labor

Yesterday, President Trump’s then nominee for Secretary of Labor, Andy Puzder, withdrew his nomination ahead of his confirmation hearing given the increasing opposition to his nomination by both parties. Less than 24 hours later, President Trump announced Alexander Acosta as his new choice for Secretary of Labor. Mr. Acosta is currently the dean of Florida International University College of Law but has experience in both the public and private sector. Some of Mr. Acosta’s prior positions include being appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as a member of the National Labor Relations Board, his appointment to the role of Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, and a high profile role as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. If confirmed, Mr. Acosta will be the first Hispanic member of President Trump’s cabinet.

DOL Nominee’s Confirmation Hearing To Take Place Next Week

The confirmation hearing for Secretary of Labor-nominee Andrew Puzder before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee will take place on February 16, according to Politico.

President Trump Orders Review of Labor Department Fiduciary Rule and Addresses Financial Industry in Latest Actions

Scholarship football players in Division I FBS private sector colleges and universities are employees under the National Labor Relations Act, National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Richard F. Griffin has concluded. Accordingly, he explained, the players have all of the rights and protections available to employees under the Act.

Is the USDOL Making it Easier for On-Demand Workers to Claim Misclassification?

The on-demand economy has certainly changed the way people provide and receive services. It may also be changing the way the government focuses its enforcement priorities.

Cost of Violating FLSA, FMLA, Other Laws Just Rose

The US Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a final rule that increases penalties assessed or enforced in its regulations. The increases apply to any penalties assessed after January 13, 2017, which is the effective date of the rule, for violations that occurred after November 2, 2015.

Puzder Hearing Delayed to February 7

The confirmation hearing for Secretary of Labor nominee Andrew Puzder before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee has been rescheduled from February 2 to February 7. No reason has been announced.

Edward Hugler Named Acting Secretary of Labor

According to an announcement on the Department of Labor’s website, Edward Hugler is Acting Secretary of Labor.

DOL Nominee Puzder To Withdraw?

Andrew Puzder, President-elect Trump’s choice to head the Department of Labor, may ask that his nomination be withdrawn, according to reports in New York magazine and Politico, quoting a Republican source close to the Trump transition team. Puzder has disputed the story, tweeting on Monday “I am looking forward to my hearing,” which will take place on February 2. Puzder’s nomination has been roundly criticized by Democrats and labor unions.

So Long, Secretary Perez: DOL Head's Goodbye Message

Last week, outgoing Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez released a farewell “Memorandum to the American People.” It mostly reads as a recap of the DOL’s news releases over the past several years, touting various DOL initiatives and advocating for further changes, like increasing the minimum wage and mandating paid family leave. The memo must strike a bittersweet note for proponents of the current DOL’s direction. One can pretty safely infer that most of the progressive proposals discussed in the memo – other than perhaps some form of paid maternity leave – are going precisely nowhere under the incoming Trump administration. To the contrary, most observers expect the DOL to roll back many Obama-era changes under the leadership of Trump’s pick for labor secretary, fast-food executive Andy Puzder. If, that is, Congressional Republicans don’t beat them to the punch.

DOL Nominee Puzder’s Hearing Rescheduled

The confirmation hearing for Andrew Puzder, President-elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, has been postponed from January 12 to the week of January 16, according to a report in Politico. The hearing will take place before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. The Committee is chaired by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).

US DOL Issues Final Rule Regarding EEO in Apprenticeship Opportunities

The US Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a final rule that updates equal employment opportunity (EEO) requirements with respect to apprenticeships. The EEO regulations implementing the National Apprenticeship Act of 1937 were last updated in 1978.

Puzder Hearing Set for January 12

According to a report in Politico, an aide to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R. Tenn.), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee, has revealed that the confirmation hearing for Andrew Puzder, President-Elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Department of Labor, will be held on January 12. Puzder is Chief Executive Officer of CKE Holdings, the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.

USDOL Secretary Nominee Puzder Hearing Set For January

United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) has announced that the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) committee, which he chairs, will hold a hearing on Secretary of Labor nominee Andrew Puzder’s nomination in January when the 115th Congress convenes.

Labor Department Finalizes Apprenticeship Program Discrimination Rule

The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) has finalized a rule expanding nondiscrimination and affirmative action requirements in apprenticeship programs registered with the USDOL or state apprenticeship agencies. Program sponsors face staggered implementation of the rule’s provisions beginning in just a few short weeks – on January 18, 2017 – so the time to come into compliance is now.

Fast-Food Restaurant CEO Tapped to Head Labor Department: What to Expect

President-elect Donald Trump has announced his intention to nominate Andrew Puzder, Chief Executive Officer of CKE Holdings, the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, to head the U.S. Department of Labor.

Trump Nominates Businessman to Head Department of Labor

President-elect Trump has announced many Cabinet appointments and last week announced Andy Puzder, head of fast food brands Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., for Secretary of Labor. Several names were circulated in recent weeks as possible successors to outgoing Secretary Thomas Perez, including Vicki Lipnic, a current EEOC Commissioner. However, in recent days it became clearer that Puzder was the top choice.

Restaurant and Business Leader Andy Puzder Picked to Lead the DOL

President-elect Donald Trump has formally named Andy Puzder as his choice to be the next Secretary of Labor. Currently the CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company to several fast-food chains, Puzder is a long-time advocate for job creation.

President-Elect Trump Announces the New Secretary of Labor

Today, President-elect Donald Trump announced Andrew Franklin (Andy) Puzder, 66, chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants, as his choice for Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor.

What Employers Need To Know About Puzder’s Selection As Labor Secretary

President-elect Donald Trump has announced that he would nominate Andrew Puzder to be the next Secretary of Labor. This Cabinet-level position heads the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), one of the federal agencies that has the widest and deepest impact on employers across the country. Assuming that Puzder’s selection is confirmed by the Senate, what should employers know about him in order to predict what life will be like under his tenure as part of the Trump administration?

Puzder, a Foe of Minimum Wage and Overtime Rule, Tapped to Lead DOL

President-elect Donald Trump has announced his intention to nominate Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor, according to multiple news sources.

Feds Ratchet Up Employer Penalties, Effective Later This Summer

While most employers were preparing for the long holiday weekend, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) announced a series of civil penalty increases that will impact the nation’s employers in the very near future. On June 30, the USDOL announced that the vast majority of penalties associated with wage and hour, safety, and benefits compliance matters will soon increase, as will certain penalties associated with immigration matters.

DOL Joins the Joint Employer Craze

In today’s economy, many companies are staffing through lease or temp agencies, third party management companies, independent contractors, and by sharing employees between companies. Many of these arrangements result in third-parties employing the workers and not the company on whose behalf the work is being performed (the putative joint employer). These arrangements generally allow the putative joint employer to minimize or even avoid functions such as recruiting, screening, hiring, paying workers, and complying with labor and employment laws. Over the last few years, government agencies have reacted to this trend by increasingly finding that both companies are employers and as such, both are jointly and severally liable for any issue involving the employees. The National Labor Relations Board and OSHA are already on board, and now the federal Department of Labor (“DOL”), is joining the movement.

DOL to Revive Survey to Assess Members of "Gig" Economy

The changing nature of employment, including the move to more online-based commerce, has increased the number of on-demand or "gig" workers. Estimates vary as to the number of workers in the so-called gig economy, but most place this number in the millions. Not surprisingly, the U.S. Department of Labor now seeks an official government record of these on-demand workers. This week, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez announced that the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in conjunction with the Census Bureau, will revive the Contingent Worker Supplement to the Current Population Survey in an attempt to capture a more accurate picture of the workforce.

New Legal Requirements For Apprenticeship Programs Are Headed Your Way

Apprenticeship programs will soon face expanded antidiscrimination obligations and additional affirmative action requirements under a proposed rule recently published by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL). If you sponsor such a program, the time is now to prepare for the inevitable changes to come your way in 2016.

Restaurants, Other Low-Wage Industries Remain Target of DOL Enforcement Efforts

The US Department of Labor (DOL) is continuing to focus its enforcement efforts on low-wage industries, as new statistics show.

Associations Press for More Logical Persuader Rulemaking Process

With the DOL's persuader rule nearing final publication, 90 trade associations representing millions of employers sent a letter to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on Friday asking that the rulemaking be returned to the DOL and consolidated with a separate proposal.

U.S. Department of Labor Pushes “Persuader Rules” to Final Approval Stage

Last week, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) forwarded long-delayed revisions to its “persuader rules” to the Office of Management and Budget – a key final step before the new rule takes effect. The DOL hopes to have the revisions finalized by March 2016. Employers, management-side consultants, and attorneys should prepare for significant changes when facing a union organizing campaign.

DOL's Persuader Rule Advances

After years in regulatory limbo, the Department of Labor’s final revisions to the so-called “persuader” rule have moved one step closer to publication. On December 7, the DOL’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) submitted the final rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is the final step before the rule can be published in the Federal Register. Although the DOL’s regulatory agenda had estimated this rule would be published in March 2016, given the OMB’s traditional review timetable, the measure could be released even earlier in 2016. If the final rule resembles the proposal issued in 2011, it will have a significant impact on employers.

The DOL’s Fall 2015 Regulatory Agenda: Does it Really Shed Light on the Timing for a Final Overtime Rule?

Approximately three months after the comment period closed on the proposal from the Obama administration and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to revise the Part 541 overtime regulations, the DOL issued its Fall 2015 Semiannual Regulatory Agenda that includes a statement on the timing for a final overtime rule. According to the regulatory agenda, the DOL expects to publish the final rule in July of 2016.

New Regulatory Agenda Contains Surprises

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) just-released Fall 2015 Semiannual Regulatory Agenda and Plan Statement contains several surprises for federal labor and employment rulemaking. Although the timetables are often aspirational and not met, the announced agency goals for regulatory actions nevertheless provide a clear indication of the priorities of the DOL and of other federal agencies.

DOL to Pay $1.5 Million to Employer for Bad Faith Investigation

In an interesting turn of events and what I’m sure will be gratifying for some employers, the Department of Labor has agreed to pay Gate Guard Services $1.5 million to settle claims involving the DOL’s overly aggressive and bad faith tactics in investigating whether Gate Guard’s gate attendants were improperly classified as independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Beware Offering "Examples" In Comments To USDOL

Comments on the U.S. Labor Department's proposed changes in regulations defining the federal Fair Labor Standards Act's Section 13(a)(1) exemptions are, for the moment, still due on Friday, September 4, 2015.

House and Senate Appropriations Committees Approve Funding Bills with Riders Targeting DOL, NLRB Initiatives

Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees advanced bills this week to fund various federal agencies for FY 2016. Each chamber approved versions of spending measures that include riders prohibiting funding for a variety of the administration's regulatory initiatives.

Department of Labor Seeks Information about Employees' Use of Smartphones

The Obama Administration used the occasion of Memorial Day weekend to release its required Semiannual Regulatory Agenda. The Agenda, which is not binding on the DOL, lists a number of items including two specifically related to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). One of them is the “white collar” overtime exemption rules that we have been telling you about recently. As we noted, these rules are expected in proposed form sometime in June. The other item is new to the Agenda: employee use of smartphones and other electronic devices after regular work hours.

Department of Labor Says "Transparent Government" Begins With...Transparent Data about Businesses?

We’ve reached almost the end of April, and the long delayed, new FLSA regulations are still percolating somewhere in deep inside the DOL. So what has the agency been up to instead? Last month, as part of the annual “Sunshine Week” spotlighting the importance of open government, freedom of information, and the public’s right to know, the DOL took a rather odd view of government transparency: spotlighting enforcement against businesses.

DOL Crackdown On Texas Employers May Come In 2015

During a recent gathering of business executives, a representative from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division warned Texas employers that some of the state’s most active industries may be under increased scrutiny in 2015. The representative went on to say that during the DOL’s 2015 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, the oil and gas services industry, such as those providing fracking services, as well as the construction and hospitality sectors will receive considerable attention.

Misclassification Initiatives Spread as Alabama Signs Formal Pact with DOL

On October 2, 2014, the Alabama Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) entered into a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or agreement to share information regarding independent contractor misclassification. In signing this MOU, Alabama joined several other states that have already entered into similar MOUs with the DOL, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York, Utah, and Washington.

Supreme Court to Decide Paralyzed Veterans Doctrine

When the White House goes from a Democratic president to a Republican president, or vice versa, there are often changes in various federal agencies’ directives to reflect the priorities of the current administration. These changes are often implemented by a federal agency using its power to interpret its own regulations. Regulations become more stringent in some areas and relaxed in others.

Some Surprises in DOL’s Just Issued Spring 2014 Regulatory Agenda

On Friday, May 23, 2014, the White House, through its executive branch and other federal agencies, issued the Spring 2014 edition of the Semiannual Regulatory Agenda. Published twice a year, the agencies’ regulatory agendas provide an outlook on regulatory activity. They show the status of proposed rules and highlight which proposed and final rules are imminent. These regulatory plans also offer additional details about the most significant actions the agencies intend to take in the coming year and identify agency priorities.

President Seeks Additional Funding for DOL to Clear Case Backlog

Although unlikely to be passed in its current form, President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget request to Congress allocates an additional $2 million of the Department of Labor’s requested $1.8 billion budget so that the Department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ) can hire additional personnel primarily to deal with a massive backlog of cases.

Department of Labor Delays Persuader Rules Again; Will Not Be Released This Month

As we have been reporting, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has been considering new regulations that would significantly narrow the DOL’s interpretation of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) that has been in force since 1962. Dubbed the “persuader rules,” the regulations address Section 203 of the LMRDA, which, among other things, requires employers to file reports with the DOL when they hire consultants or contractors (including attorneys) to persuade employees on the issue of unions. First proposed back in June 2011, the Obama administration originally slipped a November 2013 release date for the final rule onto its Unified Agenda of upcoming regulatory and deregulatory actions.

Thomas Perez Confirmed as Labor Secretary as President Obama Names New NLRB Nominees after Senate Compromise; Another Appellate Court Overturns Recess Appointments

The last three days have brought a flurry of important developments for employers. On Wednesday, the Fourth Circuit joined the D.C. Circuit (Noel Canning) and Third Circuit (New Vista Nursing) in overturning President Obama’s January 2012 recess appointments of Members Richard Griffin, Terrence Flynn (who has since resigned), and Sharon Block to the National Labor Relations Board. In NLRB v. Enterprise Leasing Company Southeast, the Fourth Circuit largely agreed with its sister courts, concluding that “the term ‘the Recess,’ as used in the Recess Appointments Clause, refers to the legislative break that the Senate takes between its ‘Session[s].’ In other words, the term ‘the Recess’ means the intersession period of time between an adjournment sine die and the start of the Senate’s next session.” The D.C. Circuit’s Noel Canning decision is currently pending before the Supreme Court.

As May Approaches, No Sign of Persuader Rules from Department of Labor

In June 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposed new regulations that would significantly narrow the DOL’s interpretation of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) that has been in force since 1962. Dubbed the "persuader rules," the regulations address Section 203 of the LMRDA, which, among other things, requires employers to file reports with the DOL when they hire consultants or contractors (including attorneys) to persuade employees on the issue of unions. As we reported back in January, the latest report from the DOL to the federal Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs stated that the DOL would take final action on the new rules in April. As May approaches, however, the DOL has not updated its target date, moved the publication process forward, or made any public statement about the new rules’ status.

The "New Sheriff" Leaves Town

After arriving at the Department of Labor, Hilda Solis famously proclaimed that there was a new sheriff in town. Hilda Solis, new sheriff at the U.S. Labor Department.

DOL Targets Healthcare Employer For Violations

A recent announcement from the U.S. Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division highlights the risks that healthcare employers face when they do not properly compensate employees for overtime hours and do not maintain accurate records. In May, DOL announced that Extended Health Care, Inc. of Downey, California had agreed to pay more than $654,000 in back wages to 108 current and former registered nurses and licensed vocational nurses. The settlement culminated a multi-year DOL investigation that began in 2009. The company, which provides skilled nursing care to patients in their homes, also committed to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in the future.

One-Way "Bridge to Justice" Now In Place.

The U.S. Labor Department/American Bar Association lawyer-referral program we wrote about earlier is underway. This so-called "Bridge to Justice" is now described on the U.S. Wage and Hour Division's website.

Get Ready for New Guests: Federal Auditors to Come Calling

Following a substantial increase in funding and a mandate to increase its enforcement activities, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) is planning to audit hotels, motels, and resorts across the country beginning on October 1, 2010. Many of the hundreds of new DOL investigators will examine hospitality industry employers, which may include businesses located at an establishment and staffing companies that provide workers to the hospitality industry.

DOL Clarifies Status of "Administrator Interpretations".

As we previously reported, the U.S. Wage and Hour Division says that it will no longer provide substantive responses to fact-specific requests for interpretation submitted by employers or other individuals. At the recent DOL "Stakeholder Forum" in which Fisher & Phillips participated in Washington, D.C., officials indicated that this position includes requests that were pending at the time the new policy was announced.

DOL To Focus Upon Top-Down Industry Compliance.

Fisher & Phillips participated last week in a Washington, D.C. "Stakeholder Forum" conducted by the U.S. Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division. A recurring theme during this session was the Division's focus upon industry- and sector-wide compliance initiatives under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

A Quantum Of Solis.

President Obama has selected Hilda L. Solis as his choice for Secretary of Labor. Solis has been a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives for the past seven years, representing a district just east of Los Angeles, California. While Solis's confirmation was delayed because of questions concerning her husband's business, she is widely expected to be confirmed by the Senate. Labor leaders throughout the country are ecstatic; business leaders, not so much. In this article we'll take a look at some of the more important aspects of her career.

Improved DOL Website Helps Employers Comply.

In May, the U.S. Labor Department rolled out its FirstStep Recordkeeping, Reporting and Notices elaws Advisor. This Advisor is another attempt by the DOL to help employers comply with some of the major federal labor and employment laws.

Informer Privilege Shields Employee Statements Made to DOL.

After the DOL brought this action against Raceway for alleged FLSA violations, Raceway sought to compel production of statements given by its current and former employees to the DOL during the government’s investigation.
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