by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Bill McMorris of the Washington Free Beacon highlights potential changes to harmful Obama administration labor rules.
A senior Trump administration official indicated the White House will give employers more input into regulatory actions and is willing to abandon a controversial Obama-era rule on franchising.
Acting-Solicitor of Labor Nicholas Geale said in a March 17 lecture at Georgetown University that the Department of Labor would act with more “humility” when it comes to setting labor regulations. He said there would be a particular focus on assisting small businesses, which have less access to labor attorneys and the funds required for compliance fees.
“You’ll see in the new administration that we will do a lot more outreach and attempt to assist, particularly, small employers who may not have the ability to have the excellent counsel like the people in this room,” Geale said in remarks that were first reported by Law 360. “We’re very concerned about compliance with small business. […] They don’t often have the best advice and capacity to contact attorneys for compliance. So that’s certainly going to be something that I am going to do my best to encourage the department, its agencies and the solicitor’s office, to promote compliance opportunities.”
Geale also said that the administration may decide to abandon the National Labor Relations Board and Labor Department efforts to hold parent companies liable for workplace violations committed by subcontractors or franchisees.
The NLRB overturned decades of precedent that held in 2015 that companies could be held responsible for misconduct by franchisees.
Several companies and industry groups have challenged that interpretation in federal court. Geale said that he did not think such enforcement actions would withstand judicial scrutiny, though he added that he would defer to the desires of the eventual Secretary of Labor.