Typically with an incoming administration there is a waiting
period of sorts before changes in pending and certainly existing
regulations kick in. The current administration, however,
appears to be working at an accelerated pace toward upending the
status quo. So, it appears time for a quick check-in
on where we are and what to expect.
On Inauguration day, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus
Jan. 20 instructed federal agencies to freeze all
pending regulations, a move that seems to include a number of labor
and employment initiatives that were in the works under the Obama
This type of freeze is not unusual when a new president takes
office. An action of this nature does not necessarily mean
that significant changes are coming, but given candidate
Trump's campaign promise to roll back regulation on business,
we can at least predict that the administration will be in no rush
to move on the pending matters.
Priebus ordered the agencies to delay sending new regulations to
the Office of Management and Budget and to postpone for at least 60
days all regulations which have been published but are not yet in
effect. This action may have been designed to permanently
stall implication of the Labor Department's overtime rule which
was to have gone into effect on December 1 but for an injunction
out of a federal court in Texas. It may also delay or derail
regulations to expand federal contractor disclosure requirements
and require employers to provide information about union-avoidance
Of significant interest to larger employers is the fact that it
may also delay the new pay data disclosure requirements put in
place by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the
"EEOC"). The expansion of the EEO-1 reporting requirement
was set to go into effect in March 2018.
With respect to the overtime rule, more litigation is
expected. Employee advocates will argue that Priebus'
letter does not impact the overtime rule which had already been
published as a final rule before the election. The Texas lawsuit
will likely move forward even if the Trump administration and its
choice to head the Department of Labor (“DOL”), Andrew
Puzder (who has not yet been confirmed), decide to abandon the
defense of the rule. Advocacy groups may push the litigation
forward, or the DOL, under new leadership, may choose to revise the
rule to make the change in the salary test less dramatic and more
palatable for the businesses most impacted.
The next significant development will be the confirmation (or
not) of Puzder, who is known to have been a critic of such
longstanding traditions, such as the federal minimum wage.
The next several months are likely to be full of
interesting changes upon which employers should keep a close
Charla Bizios Stevens is a shareholder at McLane, Graf,
Raulerson & Middleton, where he is a member of the Litigation
Department and the Employment Law Group.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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