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NLRB Chairman Philip A. Miscimarra Appointed

On April 24, 2017, President Trump appointed Philip A. Miscimarra Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). President Trump will have the opportunity to make appointments to two vacant seats on the board as well.

According to the announcement, Chairman Miscimarra has served on the NLRB since 2013 and was previously designated as “acting chairman” by President Trump earlier this year. Before serving on the NLRB, Chairman Miscimarra was a Senior Fellow at University of Pennsylvania’s the Wharton School in the Wharton Center for Human Resources, and practiced labor and employment law in the private sector.

Because Chairman Miscimarra has served almost four years on the NLRB, his position on many issues that come before the NLRB are already known to employers. As a legal expert at Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP reported earlier this year, Chairman Miscimarra frequently dissented from majority opinions issued by the previous board. Some areas where we may see reversals of earlier board decisions relate to employee handbooks and policies, joint employment, and management rights provisions, among others.

DOL Secretary Alexander Acosta Confirmed

On April 27, 2017, the Senate confirmed Alexander Acosta as the Secretary of the Department of Labor (DOL).

According to his bio, Secretary Acosta is no stranger to labor and employment law or public service. He previously served as a member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Assistant Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice, and as United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. He has also worked in private legal practice and taught at George Mason University School of Law. Immediately prior to becoming Secretary of Labor he served as Dean of the Florida International University College of Law.

Employers should anticipate changes to existing DOL policies, regulations, and guidance over the next several years. While it is hard to predict at this point what position Secretary Acosta and the DOL may take on certain issues, one of the first indications will likely be the DOL’s legal position in the overtime rule litigation. Currently, the overtime rule is enjoined and the DOL recently requested an extension of time in the litigation. If Secretary Acosta decides that the DOL should no longer pursue the case, then the injunction will stand. This would be welcome news for employers.

ThinkHR will continue to monitor appointments and related news, and update employers as changes occur.