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Courts End Rule Increasing Salary Level Rule for White-Collar Exemptions

The Department of Labor’s 2016 rule increasing the salary threshold for the white-collar exemptions (executive, administrative, and professional) from the wage and hour laws are now history. On August 31st, a U.S. district judge in Sherman ruled against the rule, concluding that the threshold was set so high that duties requirements of the exemptions no longer mattered.  The judge backed off his earlier conclusion that the DoL did  not have the authority to set a salary threshold at all. The…

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Labor Day 2017 Thoughts

Happy Labor Day!  As we observe another Labor Day, we see that the job market is good and labor & employment law continues to evolve. The August jobs report was a little disappointing, with fewer jobs created than experts predicted and the unemployment rate ticking up to 4.4%.  Still, that level is still close to what economists call “full employment,” and there are plenty of job openings waiting to be filled. In labor & employment law, the Department of Labor…

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Law Protecting Leave to Care for Foster Children to Go Into Effect

Tomorrow, September 1st, Texas employers need to start observing a new law passed by the Legislature in April that requires them to treat leave to care for foster children the same as leave to care for biological or adopted children. The new law, House Bill 88, makes the failure to comply an unlawful employment practice.  Employers do not have to have policies allowing employees to take leave to care for children, but, if they do, the policies must treat foster…

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Health Care Act Passes House, But Faces Uncertain Future

On May 4th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “American Health Care Act” by a 217-213 vote, but the bill faces a very uncertain future in the U.S. Senate, where it is extremely unlikely to pass unscathed, if it passes that body at all. Until then, the Affordable Care Act, a/k/a Obamacare, is still in effect.   The stakes for employers are high, whether Obamacare stays in effect or is repealed or replaced in whole or in part.  Stay…

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Alex Acosta Confirmed and Sworn in as Labor Secretary

On April 28th, the U.S. Senate confirmed Alex Acosta as the newest Labor Secretary by a somewhat bipartisan vote of 60-38, and he was sworn in the next day. Two of the most important issues Secretary Acosta will need to deal with very soon are the revised rules on the Fair Labor Standards Act white-collar exemptions and the “fiduciary rule” on employee benefit plans.

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Latest Nominee for Labor Secretary Passes Committee, Awaits Full Senate Vote

On March 30th, Alex Acosta was approved by a Senate committee to be the next Secretary of Labor, and the U.S. Senate is to take up his nomination when it reconvenes after the current April recess.  The committee’s vote was along party lines, 12-11 in favor of the nomination, even though Mr. Acosta’s nomination was much less controversial than President Trump’s first nominee for Labor, Andrew Puzder. Mr. Acosta was alternately praised and grilled by committee members at a hearing…

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Appeal of White-Collar Exemption Case Delayed

The Department of Labor’s appeal of the challenge to its regulations increasing the salary threshold for the white-collar exemptions has been delayed on the Department’s own motion.  On February 17th, the DoL asked the U.S. court of appeals for the Fifth Circuit to give it an additional 60 days, until May 1st, to file its reply brief, perhaps because President Trump’s nominee for Labor Secretary had not yet been confirmed by the Senate.  Resolution of the appeal is still probably…

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U.S. Court of Appeals Allows Claim of Sexual Orientation Discrimination

On April 4th, a U.S. court of appeals for the first time allowed a claim of sexual orientation employment discrimination to go forward.  The case, Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, was heard by the entire court of appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, and the vote was 8 judges in favor, with 3 dissenting judges.  The decision reversed a ruling by a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit. The majority opinion in the case relied mainly on U.S.…

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Nominee for Labor Secretary Withdraws

This afternoon Andrew Puzder, President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, withdrew his name from consideration for the post, amid news reports that a number of Republican senators on the committee about to hold hearings on his nomination were withholding their support. The withdrawal came on the very eve of hearings consider his nomination.  It is now up to President Trump to nominate another candidate and for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions to start the vetting…

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Hearings to Start Thursday on Labor Nominee

At long last, on Thursday, February 16th a Senate committee is to start confirmation hearings on Andrew Puzder, President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor.  Mr. Puzder lives in Tennessee, and was the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which owns Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. chains. Mr. Puzder is not known as a fan of increasing the minimum wage or of labor regulations affecting fast-food and other businesses.  Presumably much more about his views will come out in the hearings starting Thursday.…

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