Wyatt Employment Law Report


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H-1B Enforcement Stepped Up

By Glen Krebs

On April 3, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced multiple measures to further deter and detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse.  On April 4, 2017 the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced plans to protect U.S. workers from H1B program discrimination by providing greater transparency and oversight.  These announcements have caused companies which regularly use H-1B workers to be concerned about their workforce in coming years.

The companies mostly affected by this policy change will be outsourcing firms – companies which hire H-1B workers and then place them at the worksite of other companies.  Many of the outsourcing firms are headquartered Continue reading


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President Trump Proposes Significant Cuts to DOL

By Courtney Samford

President Trump released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 earlier this month.  The proposal, which is entitled “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” purports to “put[] the needs of its own people first” by prioritizing national security and public safety.   To account for increases in these areas, the budget acknowledges that many “Government agencies and departments will …. experience cuts …. to achieve greater efficiency and to eliminate wasteful spending[.]”

The Department of Labor (“DOL”) is no exception to President Trump’s proposed cuts.  The America First Budget requests a total of $9.6 billion for the DOL, which equates to a 21 percent decrease from fiscal year 2017.  In particular, the budget seeks to Continue reading


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Texas Judge Blocks Overtime Rule

By: Sharon Gold

In September, 21 states and numerous business groups sued the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in a Texas Federal Court attacking the DOL’s Final Rule that raised the salary minimum for workers to be exempt from overtime requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  The states filed a motion for preliminary injunction asking the judge to enjoin enforcement of the Final Rule pending a final resolution of their legal arguments against the Rule.  The businesses moved for summary judgment.  Continue reading


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Persuader Rule Update

By George J. Miller

On July 12th I posted a report on this blog about the U.S. Department of Labor’s “persuader rule” that was set to go into effect on July 1st. This rule would have required employers and their labor consultants—including employers’ attorneys—to file reports with the DOL disclosing in a public record the work the consultants performed, including fees paid, if the work even so much as “indirectly” is undertaken to persuade employees regarding the exercise of their rights to organize or join labor unions. At that time I reported that on June 27th the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas at Lubbock had issued a preliminary nationwide injunction against the DOL, prohibiting it from enforcing the persuader rule, pending a final decision on the merits of the case.  Independent Federation of Business, et al. v. Thomas E. Perez, et al, Case No. 5:16-CV-00016 (N.D. Texas, June 27, 2016).

To bring readers up to date, on August 29th, the DOL appealed the District Court’s injunction order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, where the case is still pending.  However, this appeal did not divest the District Court of jurisdiction, and the case proceeded there.  Yesterday, November 16th, the court granted the plaintiffs’ summary judgment motion and denied the DOL’s summary judgment motion.  The court said it is of the opinion that its preliminary injunction should be converted to a permanent, nationwide injunction.  However, the court did not enter final judgment today, stating that it first wanted to determine whether the plaintiffs are entitled to recover their attorney fees and costs.  The court has ordered the parties to file briefs on that issue in the next few weeks.

 

 


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21 States (Including Kentucky) and Several Businesses File Lawsuits Challenging DOL Final Rule Raising Salary for Exempt Workers

By Sharon L. Gold

money-roll-694667smallThis week, Kentucky, alongside 20 other states, sued the Department of Labor in a Texas Federal Court.  The states’ Complaint, 4:16-cv-00731, attacks the DOL’s Final Rule that raises the salary minimum for exempt workers.  That same day, numerous businesses and the Chamber of Commerce filed a similar Complaint, 4:16-cv-732, challenging the regulation.

The states contend that the Final Rule infringes upon state sovereignty and federalism by dictating the wages that a state must pay its employees.  The states contend that “as a result of the new overtime rules and the accompanying damage to state budgets, states will be forced to eliminate or alter employment relationships and cut or reduce services and programs.  Left unchecked, DOL’s salary basis test and compensation levels will wreck state budgets.”  States’ Complaint at 84.  As to Kentucky, the Complaint alleges that Continue reading


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Persuader Rule Update

By George J. Miller

Judges HammerBy now, I assume most employers and others who keep up with developments in labor and employment law are familiar with the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) controversial “persuader rule” that was set to take effect on July 1 of this year.  For those who are not familiar with it, here is a summary of what all the fuss is about, followed by some recent court developments.

In 1959, Congress amended the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by passing the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA).  The main purpose of the LMRDA was to rid organized labor of corruption and also make it more democratic.  However, the LMRDA also requires labor consultants (including lawyers) to file reports with the DOL identifying their employer clients and the details of the terms of their engagement, including fees paid for their services, if an object of the engagement, either directly or indirectly, is to persuade employees whether or how to exercise or not to exercise their rights to organize or bargain collectively under the NLRA.  The law also requires employers who engage consultants for such purposes to file a similar report.  These filings are a public record.  Willful violations of the LMRDA’s reporting requirements are criminal and are punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 or a year in jail, or both.

However, the LMRDA contains an exception from the reporting requirement for consultants’ “advice” to employers in such matters.  Shortly after the LMRDA was enacted, the DOL issued guidance stating that if a labor consultant (including an attorney) did not communicate directly with employees regarding their Continue reading


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Effective Date of Persuader Rule Affects Employers’ Decisions to Retain Advisors

By Mitzi D. Wyrick

The United States Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) “persuader rule,” which requires employers and their advisors (including employers’ attorneys) to disclose publicly any advice that directly or indirectly persuades employees regarding union organizing or collective bargaining activity, took effect on April 25, 2016.  Litigation is pending to enjoin the enforcement of the rule because the broad sweep of the persuader rule now requires public reporting of what had been previously exempted services that are often provided by labor lawyers and consultants to their clients in confidence.  Examples of such activities include providing material or communications to employers for dissemination to employees; conducting union avoidance training; and developing personnel policies or practices that are intended to influence or persuade employees regarding their rights to engage in union organizing activities or other activity protected by the National Labor Relations Act.

It is important to note that the persuader rule applies only to persuader arrangements and agreements made on or after July 1, 2016.  In one of the pending cases to enjoin the enforcement of the persuader rule, the DOL filed a status report taking the position that advice given pursuant to Continue reading