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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.

EEOC Launches New Five-City Trial For Online Employee Inquiries

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has just added a fourth option for employees to initiate charges against their employers – an online portal. On March 13, 2017, the agency announced the Online Inquiry and Appointment System (OIAS), another step forward in its cyber-presence, and another avenue for individuals to initiate employment discrimination claims against their employers. What do employers need to know about this latest development?

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.

EEOC Made Easy? Agency Launches New Online Portal to Ease Intake in Five Cities

On March 13, 2017, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that five of its offices have launched a new system to make the charge-filing process easier. The new Online Inquiry and Appointment System will allow individuals seeking to file a discrimination charge to take their initial actions—submitting inquiries and scheduling intake interviews—electronically.

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.

DOL Fiduciary Rule – A Proposed Delay and Uncertain Future

We’ve previously written about the Department of Labor’s new fiduciary rule, which expands the definition of who is considered a fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, as amended (“ERISA”) and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and which addresses related prohibited transaction exemptions. The rule was finalized in April 2016 and is currently set to become applicable on April 10, 2017. The rule’s implementation, however, has been a specific focus of President Donald J. Trump and his administration. As discussed here, on February 3, 2017, President Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum ordering the DOL to examine the rule, requiring in particular an updated economic and legal analysis of the impact of the rule (though the Memorandum did not specifically call for a delay to the rule’s applicability date, as many had expected).