Looking back at our 2017 legal headlines, words like “repeal” and “rescind” show up a lot; so do “delay” and “block.” It’s been exactly what the Trump administration promised: deregulation.
There have, of course, been some efforts to increase rules, even as recently as last week, but the federal government appears largely focused on undoing everything it can from the Obama years. And while they haven’t been able to tackle everything they wanted to — namely healthcare reform — they’ve managed to halt quite a few major policy changes in the last 12 months, many at employers’ urging.
Some of the following issues only involve the executive branch tangentially and some are still pending but, for the most part, employers have a pretty clear picture of where things are headed.
Trump administration eyes changes to wage and hour issues
One of Alexander Acosta’s first moves as secretary of labor was rescinding Obama-era Administrator’s Interpretations (AIs) on classification and joint employment. Now, he’s looking to make the switch from AIs back to opinion letters — a favorite among management-side attorneys. Read More >>
Trump repeals DOL 'blacklisting' rule
An Obama-era regulation required federal contractors to submit their history of labor compliance when bidding on contracts. Businesses said the rule was overly burdensome and unfair, as it required them to report not only violations but also allegations. Read More >>
White House blocks EEO-1 pay reporting requirements
New compensation reporting requirements slated for March will not go into effect as planned thanks to a stay from the White House. That doesn’t mean they’re gone forever though, and employers still need to submit the rest of the EEO-1 data in a few weeks. Read More >>
The ruling that will make you question everything you know about ADA leave
This one didn’t come down from the federal agencies, but it’s still worth noting. An appeals court ruled that a multi-month leave of absence isn't a reasonable accommodation required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The opinion sent shockwaves through the employment community, and experts have offered some warnings about its reach. Read More >>
DOL proposes to rescind FLSA tip pool regulations
DOL spent the year taking the initial steps required to reverse the Obama administration’s new limits on tip sharing arrangements. The rescission remains in the proposed stage, but will likely be finalized in early 2018. Read More >>
Overtime rule: 1 year after injunction, what happened — and what comes next?
One year ago, the FLSA overtime rule was blocked by a federal district court judge. But for all the drama of that decision, the year following has been strangely slow and winding. DOL is still promising to consider a new, but lower, threshold. Read More >>
Legal debate over LGBT discrimination 'a hot mess' — but finally at a crossroads
Employers are still coping with a circuit split over whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects LGBT employees from discrimination. The Supreme Court has declined to address the question and some stakeholders are calling for Congress to intervene. Regardless, experts say employers shouldn’t bother waiting for additional guidance on this one; it’s time to add LGBT employees to your EEO policy. Read More >>
NLRB official signals changes on joint employment, workplace conduct rules
The agency's new general counsel has told staff that he'd like them to escalate cases in which the Board could overturn controversial Obama-era opinions. This includes topics like joint employment and respectful workplace rules — issues that stakeholders have been trying to address in other arenas. Read More >>
DOL makes it official: Fiduciary rule enforcement delayed until July 2019
The fiduciary rule came apart in bits and pieces this year, but it looks like it may finally be facing its “death by delay.” Add this to the list of Obama-era regulations that employers won't need to worry about for a while, if ever. Read More >>