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Employment law in 2017

For employers looking towards 2017, the employment landscape is likely to change based on the new administration in Washington. Many of the pro-employee actions of the outgoing administration could be scaled back or entirely reversed in the coming years. Some of the changes could occur soon after January, but some changes may require more time.

There are likely to be changes made to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but what they will be and how soon they may be implemented is unclear. During the campaign, the ACA was criticized and suggestions were made that it will be replaced, but this will involve Congress, and it is unlikely, even with majorities in both houses, that any legislation involving this matter will proceed smoothly.

The Department of Labor overtime requirements for exempt employees will go into effect on December 1 of this year and while the new administration could propose changes, these changes will need to go through a full Administrative Procedure Act-compliant Notice and Comment Rulemaking. Such a process is complex and would likely take more than a year. Of course, how aggressively the new DOL’s Wage and Hour division will pursue this issues could minimize some of its effects.

The new administration could reverse many Executive Orders (EO) that were issued, but they will need to take affirmative action and issue specific orders that undo previous EOs, as EOs do not expire.

Given the lack of specificity during the campaign, exactly what changes will be proposed and implement is very uncertain. It will mean that employers should remain cautious and pay attention to potential changes and discuss these issues with the HR and legal teams, to ensure that they can take advantage of potential improvements and avoid potential violations or litigation with employees.

It is also important for employers to deal with the laws as they are in force today. You could still be sued for violations of current rules regardless of whether they will change in the future.