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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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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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28 Mar 2017 Update on Trump’s Line-Up for DOL and Supreme Court

  Regulation-weary employers excitedly anticipated the new Trump Administration – and its promises that ranged from repealing the Affordable Care Act to appointing a friendly U.S. Supreme Court Justice to abolishing the fiduciary and overtime regulations. But, change often comes slowly in government, and employer expectations have been frustratingly delayed by some unexpected upsets on Capitol Hill. Apart from the last-minute decision to withdraw the GOP healthcare bill, here’s a quick update on two key Trump nominees.   Secretary of Labor   The ill-fated nomination…

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22 Nov 2016 December 1 Overtime Rule Blocked Texas Court GRANTS 21-State Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction

  At the eleventh hour, U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant of the East District of Texas ruled in favor of 21 states and issued a nationwide injunction against the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and its efforts to radically expand the coverage of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Specifically, per the order issued in State of Nevada v. United States Department of Labor on Nov. 22:   “… the [DOL’s] Final Rule described at 81 Fed. Reg. 32,391 is hereby enjoined. Specifically, Defendants are…

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25 Oct 2016 Down to the Wire: DOL’s “Blacklisting Rule” Enjoined

  A federal judge in Texas has blocked implementation of major portions of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule, the so-called “blacklisting” rule.   Judge Marcia A. Crone of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas entered a nationwide preliminary injunction order on Oct. 24 blocking the Oct. 25 implementation date of the DOL rule, along with a related Obama Executive Order, the Federal Acquisitions Regulations (“FAR”) Rule and the DOL’s Guidance regarding the FAR Rule….

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17 Oct 2016 Overtime Rules Challenge – Business Groups and States Seek Expedited Relief

  As we have covered in a prior blog post, two different lawsuits have been filed in the Eastern District of Texas challenging the new Department of Labor (DOL) overtime regulations that are currently set to take effect Dec. 1. The DOL’s rule more than doubles the current salary threshold for the “white-collar” exemptions.   In the lawsuit filed by the group of 21 states’ attorney generals, they filed an Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction on Oct. 12. The states argued that the DOL exceeded…

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12 Oct 2016 No Matter Who Becomes President, Expect More Change in National Labor and Employment Policy

No matter who occupies the White House in January, the theme of national labor and employment policy is likely to be change.   President Obama has illustrated the powerful influence of the executive on labor and employment policy without the input of Congress. The Obama Administration has raised the minimum wage to $10.10 and granted paid sick leave to approximately 1.5 million employees working under federal contracts. Under President Obama, the DOL changed the salary threshold for finding an employee exempt, the EEOC demanded detailed…

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16 Sep 2016 Oklahoma and U.S. DOL Agree to Tag-Team Worker Misclassification Initiatives

  As the effort to stamp-out worker misclassification under the Fair Labor Standards Act continues to run strong, Oklahoma is the latest state to join the U.S. Department of Labor’s Misclassification Initiative. Specifically, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission entered into a three-year Common Interest Agreement with the U.S. DOL’s Wage and Hour Division, under which the agencies agree to share data, exchange information, and coordinate investigations and other enforcement actions within Oklahoma. As part of this collaboration each agency will be responsible for designating a…

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12 Sep 2016 Employee Misclassification as Independent Contractor We Knew about the DOL and IRS Issues - Now the NLRB Says it May be an Unfair Labor Practice

  As we have noted in prior blog posts, the Department of Labor (DOL) has increasingly taken the position that employers more often than not are misclassifying statutory “employees” as independent contractors. Misclassifications such as this can result in back-pay, liquidated damages and attorney’s fees for individuals as well as potential civil penalties. This is in addition to the IRS penalties that may be imposed for failing to pay back payroll taxes for individuals who are actually employees and not independent contractors. As noted on…

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20 May 2016 New Overtime Rules: All That Glitters Is Not Gold

With apologies to Shakespeare (the above phrase is a slight corruption of his original line from Merchant of Venice, “All that glisters is not gold”), we continue our coverage of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) controversial – to say the least – new overtime regulations. To catch everyone up, earlier this week the DOL issued its final regulations that more than doubled the minimum salary necessary to be considered for the key exemptions from overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). As of…

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18 May 2016 UPDATED: DOL Unveils New Overtime Regulations

The Department of Labor (DOL) released its anticipated updated white collar exemption rule on May 18.  The new rule will take effect on Dec. 1, 2016, giving employers more time than anticipated to plan for necessary changes.   Vice President Joe Biden is expected to make the formal announcement in Columbus, Ohio, at the beloved Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream headquarters at 2:30 pm EDT.   According to the White House, “the new rule is expected to extend overtime protections to 4.2 million more Americans who…

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