Since his inauguration, President Trump has signed executive orders directing federal agencies to repeal two federal regulations for every new rule they issue, and requiring each agency head to designate a regulatory reform officer.
Task forces in each agency also have until May 25th, 2017 to propose regulations that should be repealed, replaced or modified, focusing on regulations that:
- Reduce or eliminate job opportunities.
- Are outdated or ineffective.
- Impose more costs than benefits.
- Interfere with reform initiatives and policies.
- Rely on data or methods that are not sufficiently transparent to the public.
- Relate to rescinded or modified executive orders or presidential directives.
The rules most likely to receive a lot of attention – Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, the EEO-1 pay data reporting requirement, Department of Labor (DOL) administrative interpretations and the overtime rule.
Let’s look at them one at a time.
OSHA regulations are perhaps some of the most difficult to rescind. Enacted for reasons relating to workplace safety, unless the regulated dangers are no longer a risk, they are likely to remain. The administration may make more progress attacking OSHA’s latitude in issuing citations to employers on paperwork violations.
The EEO-1 pay data reporting requirement was created in an attempt to uncover instances of systemic payroll discrimination – particularly regarding women and people of color. There is no doubt of the Trump Administration’s desire to rescind this new reporting requirement – set to take effect in March 2018. What is in doubt is whether the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – an independent agency – falls within the jurisdiction of executive orders. However, President Trump is expected to name two Republican EEOC commissioners to replace Democrats stepping down in July – giving him far greater control over the agency.
Department of Labor (DOL) administrative interpretations are just that – interpretations of the applicability of labor laws and regulations made by the Department. Two interpretations sure to get attention from the Trump Administration are the 2015 ruling on independent contractors (which was effectively a warning that most “independent” contractors qualify as employees) and guidance offered in 2016 that expanded the scope of joint-employer liability for wage and hour claims by workers supplied by staffing agencies, and for migrant and seasonal agricultural workers.
The overtime rule was the Labor Department’s sweeping attempt to require employers to pay time-and-a-half to any employees working more than 40 hours in a given week and earning less than $47,476 a year. The rule was unpopular with employers and was blocked from taking effect by a Federal Judge in November 2016. The matter is still in the courts and may well die there. If not, the Department of Labor may choose to issue a new notice of rulemaking with the intention of crafting a rule far more favorable to employers – one that removes the automatic three-year salary adjustment and the salary level test.
The bottom line?
Change is coming and much of which will likely benefit employers. What form it will all take is still evolving.
If you’re an employer and confused about how various OSHA, EEOC and DOL regulations apply to your workplace, consider calling on the attorneys at Kainen, Escalera & McHale in Connecticut. We do one thing and one thing only – we are an employer defense law firm – in fact, we are one of the largest employer defense law firms in the region. What’s more, each of our attorneys have over 20 years of experience in employment law and labor law matters and can provide your business with comprehensive legal counsel ranging from assistance with necessary preventive measures to trial advocacy. Please contact us if we can help you.
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