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Beltway Buzz, May 17, 2019

Top DOL Official to Depart. This week the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that Chief of Staff Nicholas Geale will resign his position effective May 31, 2019. Geale is a veteran of the D.C. labor policy debates, having previously served as a member of the National Mediation Board, as an official in the Elaine Chao DOL, and as a staff member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Accordingly, his departure will likely have a significant impact on the substance and pace of the DOL’s policy agenda. Indeed, Geale’s exit comes at a time when the agency is racing to finalize high-profile rulemakings and fend off legal challenges to other rules, all while facing increased scrutiny from House Democrats.

What Employers Need To Know About The New EEOC Chair

Janet Dhillon’s confirmation as the new Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) earlier this week will have an impact on employers in more ways than one. Besides installing an agency head that is seemingly in a position to understand and balance the interests of the business community and workers alike, the Senate has restored a quorum to the agency for the first time in several months – meaning that the agency can get down to work on several critical initiatives. What do employers need to know about the new head of the federal employment law agency?

Dhillon Confirmed as EEOC Chair, Restoring Quorum

The Senate confirmed Janet Dhillon as chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) yesterday, giving the agency a quorum for the first time since the January 3 departure of Commissioner Chai Feldblum. It also gives Republicans a majority on the commission for the first time in nearly a decade.

EEOC Back In Business with New Quorum

As anticipated, the U.S. Senate has confirmed the nomination of Republican Janet Dhillon as the Chairwoman of the EEOC. Ms. Dhillon joins Republican Victoria Lipnic, who has been Acting Chair, and Democrat Charlotte Burrows. According to EEOC’s website, Ms. Burrows’ term ends July 1, 2019.

FMCSA Clearinghouse Rules Take Effect On January 6, 2020: Are You Ready?

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Clearinghouse will become operational on January 6, 2020, and FMCSA-regulated employers must be ready to comply with the Clearinghouse requirements on that date. The FMCSA Clearinghouse is an electronic database that will contain information about commercial motor vehicle drivers’ drug and alcohol program violations. Although the Clearinghouse rule actually took effect on January 4, 2017, the implementation date for FMCSA-regulated employers is January 6, 2020. See 49 CFR Part 382, Subpart G, among others.

5 Ways Employers Can Alleviate Anxiety Over Agency Audits

Do you as an employer live in fear of the dreaded agency audit? If so, there are ways to alleviate your anxiety, according to employment benefits attorneys Timothy Verrall and Catherine Reese at the Ogletree Deakins 2019 Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Symposium. Their presentation was geared toward IRS and DOL audits of employee benefit plans, but their tips could have broader applications to other agency audits.

Beltway Buzz, April 26, 2019

Congress: Looking Ahead. Congress is wrapping up a two-week recess and will return to Washington, D.C., on April 29, 2019. This will begin a five-week legislative stretch that will keep both chambers in session until Memorial Day. In the U.S. House of Representatives, look for potential movement during this period on bills such as the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Equality Act.

Beltway Buzz, April 19, 2019

A note from Jim: It is with a heavy heart that I must inform our readers that Hal Coxson passed away on April 18, 2019. Hal was a great man, a fantastic and faithful friend, and a giant in the labor policy arena. Hal welcomed me with open arms when I first strode into the labor policy world 10 years ago in Washington, D.C., and helped guide me through various legal and political battles along the way. I jumped at the opportunity to work by his side when he subsequently recruited me to join Ogletree Deakins. It was an honor to co-chair the firm’s Governmental Affairs Practice Group with him. (Indeed, this publication was his idea.) I will miss him dearly.

Beltway Buzz, April 12, 2019

Stanton Confirmed as WHD Administrator. On April 10, 2019, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Cheryl Stanton as wage and hour administrator. Stanton, who was originally nominated in September 2017, takes the helm of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division at a time when it has three major proposals out for public comment: overtime, “regular rate,” and joint employer. This will require Stanton to hit the ground running, but the Buzz is sure that she will be up to the task.

Senate Confirms New Leader for DOL's Wage and Hour Division

The Senate has confirmed Cheryl Stanton to lead the US Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division more than a year and a half after President Trump had nominated her for the position. The vote was 53-45 and broke down largely along partisan lines.