Since Election Day, speculation about the impact the Trump Administration will have on existing business and employment laws and regulations has abounded. Now that President Trump has taken office, what can we expect? Read on for my thoughts on how the Department of Labor, the EEOC, and the President’s own executive actions may have bearing in the areas of workplace disability and leave law.
Department of Labor: President Trump has nominated Andrew Puzder for Secretary of Labor. As the chief executive of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., since September 2000, it is clear that Pudzer brings business experience to the table. However, his stance on certain policies and practices is less transparent. Many believe that under a Puzder DOL, we can expect more pro-business positions in both the DOL’s litigation priorities and regulatory actions. Furthermore, do not be surprised if the DOL rescinds existing regulations using the Administrative Procedure Act’s “notice and comment” procedures. Finally, while the Obama Administration discontinued the DOL’s longstanding practice of issuing opinion letters interpreting the FLSA and FMLA, some believe that practice may resume under a Trump administration.
EEOC: Not long before last year’s election, the EEOC issued an updated Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for the fiscal years 2017-2021. The purpose of the SEP is to focus and coordinate the EEOC’s programs to have a sustainable impact in reducing and deterring discriminatory practices in the workplace. This SEP continued to focus on:
- ADA and Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)-related priorities;
- ensuring pre-employment medical questionnaires are lawful;
- “inflexible” leave policies; and
- accommodation of pregnant and disabled workers.
It seems unlikely under a Trump administration, that enforcement and compliance initiatives will survive and/or thrive.
Executive Orders: On the campaign trail, President Trump said he would invalidate all of President Obama’s executive orders. Those of interest to employers include the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order and an order establishing seven days of paid sick leave for employees who work on or support government contracts. The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order and related regulations are expected to be on the chopping block soon. There has been no word yet on the paid sick leave order.
Paid Maternity: Reportedly influenced by his daughter Ivanka, President Trump has proposed six weeks of paid maternity leave for new mothers, to be structured similar to unemployment and funded with savings achieved through cracking down on unemployment fraud. We will keep a close eye on this, which could have a positive impact on working mothers throughout the state.