It has been a busy first month in office for President Trump. With a flurry of Executive Orders being issued and a number of cabinet nominees getting confirmed, it can be challenging to stay up-to-date on the news. Below are some of the recent headlines that will have a future impact in the workplace:
Secretary of Labor Nominated
President Trump has nominated Alexander Acosta to serve as Secretary of Labor. President Trump’s first choice to the position, Andrew Puzder, withdrew from the approval process on the eve of his confirmation hearing, and the Acosta nomination was announced shortly thereafter. Mr. Acosta has served in three presidentially appointed positions, including when he was a member at the National Labor Relations Board under President George W. Bush. Acosta currently acts as dean of Florida International University College of Law.
Chair Appointed to U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
President Trump has chosen Victoria A. Lipnic to serve as acting chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). After being nominated by President Obama, Ms. Lipnic has served as an EEOC Commissioner since 2010.
During a recent panel discussion, Ms. Lipnic indicated that President Trump is interested in job growth, and the commission will adopt that focus. According to Ms. Lipnic, other EEOC priorities in 2017 will include age discrimination cases, equal pay issues, and attention to employer responsibilities in joint employment situations and the use of staffing agencies.
Trump Nominates Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court
President Trump appointed 10th Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the February 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Political analysts have scanned thousands of Gorsuch’s decisions to try to predict what his confirmation would mean for business. Although there is no way to guess how Judge Gorsuch would come out on any issue, he has a history or voting in favor of enforcing arbitration clauses and appears to be skeptical of giving administrative agencies significant deference in interpreting their statutory authority. Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing is scheduled for March 20, 2017.
Protections for Government Contractors will Continue
There was a question as to whether Executive Order 13672, issued under President Obama, would survive the Trump administration. This Executive Order prohibits government contractors and subcontractors from discriminating based on sexual orientation and gender identity. President Trump recently indicated that he will continue to enforce the order.