Some states poised to protect workers' rights under pro-business Trump presidency
- New York’s attorney general is stepping up to protect workers’ rights in case the federal government doesn’t, especially under a Trump presidency, reports The Atlantic.
- Eric Schneiderman, NY’s top attorney, helped end on-call scheduling, in which shift workers, largely in retail, are called into work on short notice. He also wants to preserve overtime pay for workers and protect them from wage theft and other unlawful employment practices, says The Atlantic. Schneiderman has enlisted the help of attorneys general in other states to enforce workers' rights there as well.
- Schneiderman told The Atlantic that a shift from the federal government to the states in protecting workers is affirmed by the Constitution; therefore, states have the power to investigate claims, file suits and enlist employers in settling disputes. The Atlantic reports, however, that states run by pro-business governments might not protect workers to the same extent.
At a federal level, current theories hold that not much change will occur. Andrew Puzder, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for labor secretary and CEO of the fast-food company CKE Restaurants, has strongly criticized pro-labor groups for supporting minimum-wage increases, overtime pay expansions and other measures that strengthen worker protections. His hearing will be Feb. 2.
Uncertainty about the federal government’s role comes with every legislative, administrative and judicial change. Meanwhile, employers should comply with all current regulations — state and federal — to avoid disruptive lawsuits and the risk of costly payouts, which are especially hard on small businesses.