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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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06 Jul 2017 A Welcome Move for Employers – Department of Labor Re-Establishes Wage and Hour Opinion Letters

  Last week, Alexander Acosta, U.S. Secretary of Labor, announced that the U.S. Department of Labor will reinstate the issuance of opinion letters. This move will allow the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division to once again use opinion letters as a way to provide direction to covered employers and employees.   According to the Department of Labor’s news release, “[a]n opinion letter is an official, written opinion by the Wage and Hour Division of how a particular law applies in specific circumstances presented…

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19 May 2017 Current Administration Considers EEOC and Labor Department Subagency Merger

  The Trump administration is reportedly considering a potential merger between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and a Labor Department subagency that enforces nondiscrimination requirements and affirmative action on government contractors.   The recommendation to merge the two entities originated from The Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based conservative research think tank. In its report, “Blueprint for Reform: A Comprehensive Policy Agenda for a New Administration in 2017,” The Heritage Foundation previously called for a complete phasing out of the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal…

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03 Mar 2017 By the Numbers: Women in the Workforce

  In honor of Women’s History Month, the U.S. Department of Labor posted some thought-provoking statistics about working women.  While employers already know women play an important role in the U.S. job market, these figures demonstrate just how significant female workers are in our economy.  Below are some of the fascinating numbers about working women:   Nearly half of the U.S. workforce is comprised of women, with more than 74.6 million women employed in civilian jobs Almost 10 million women are business owners and account…

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17 Feb 2017 New Nominee, New Path to Confirmation – Acosta Draws Initial Support From Management and Labor

  In sharp contrast to his predecessor, new Labor Secretary nominee Alexander Acosta has received initial support from both management and labor. Management views Acosta’s private sector experience combined with his political views as reason to believe that he will adopt a more management-friendly stance. Labor is looking to Acosta’s past government service as a sign that he will enforce labor laws. In a statement yesterday, Acosta said, “I thank the president and his staff for their confidence in me and I am eager to…

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16 Feb 2017 Trump Announces Alexander Acosta as Labor Secretary Nominee After Andrew Puzder Withdraws

  At a press conference, President Trump announced Alexander Acosta as the new nominee for labor secretary. Acosta is currently the dean of the Florida International School of Law and previously served as a member of the National Labor Relations Board and later assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division through appointments by President George W. Bush. If confirmed, he will be the first Hispanic member of Trump’s cabinet.   Yesterday, just one day prior to his Senate confirmation hearing, Andrew Puzder withdrew as…

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21 Sep 2016 The Battle Is Joined: Two New Entrants in the Fight Over New Overtime Rules

  Two new sets of allied combatants have joined the fray looking to overturn the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new overtime regulations and halt the imminent effective date. The DOL’s new rules more than double the salary threshold (to $47,476) for workers to even be considered for the so-called “white collar” exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime premium requirements and are currently scheduled to take effect Dec. 1.   On Sept. 20, two complaints were filed in the Eastern District of Texas:…

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10 Feb 2016 UNPAID INTERNS –DOES THE Second CIRCUIT’S AMENDED OPINION IN FOX SEARCHLIGHT HELP OR HURT EMPLOYERS?

  Hearst Corporation, publisher of such magazines as Cosmopolitan, ELLE and Harper’s BAZAAR, has filed a motion for summary judgment against the claims of former unpaid interns seeking unpaid minimum wages and overtime based on a recent Second Circuit opinion in the Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., case. As we have covered in a number of prior blog posts (2013 and 2014), there have been a variety of class action claims filed by unpaid interns in the movie and publishing industries where thousands of individuals…

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30 Jun 2015 DOL FINALLY UNVEILS PROPOSED GUIDANCE AFFECTING OVERTIME

  Today, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) revealed a long-awaited proposed rule that is expected to make millions of workers eligible for overtime pay.  (See Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and the DOL’s presentation.)   What will this proposed change mean to employers? If enacted, it means those certain employees currently considered to be “exempt” from Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirements will be nonexempt and must be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a week. The proposed new “white collar”…

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11 Aug 2014 OFCCP PROPOSES RULE TO COLLECT COMPENSATION DATA FROM FEDERAL CONTRACTORS

  On August 6, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking requiring certain federal contractors to submit an annual Equal Pay Report on employee compensation. Under the proposed rule, Companies that file EEO1 reports, have more than one hundred employees and hold federal contracts or subcontracts worth more than fifty thousand dollars would need to submit an Equal Pay Report each year to the OFCCP. The Equal Pay Report would “provide summary data…

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15 Aug 2013 FMLA Extended to Same-Sex Couples in 13 States

Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez has quickly responded to the Supreme Court’s decision in Windsor.  In an e-mail, Perez announced that the Department of Labor has already updated several guidance documents to remove DOMA and its definition of spouse from the FMLA. The net effect of the move is that spousal leave and job restoration protections are now available to the spouses of legally married same-sex couples in states that permit same-sex marriage.  The FMLA defines “spouse” as a husband or wife recognized under the…

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