It seems that with the resignation of Secretary Acosta there is going to be a decidedly more pro-business posture for the agency. This is because Patrick Pizzella, who will take over, has let it be known that he will be “hitting the gas” according to Paul DeCamp.
The business community sought (and expected) a great deal of deregulation emanating from the agency in the wake of the 2016 election. That did not materialize so quickly. The first nominee, Andy Puzder, withdrew his nomination and then a more moderate selection, Acosta, was made. He started off quickly, reversing the trend of expansion of the joint employer doctrine, but then he slowed down, a little too much for business.
It seemed that, under Acosta, the enforcement attitude did not change that much from what it had been under President Obama. The DOL during that administration hit employers with large damage assessments and heavy penalties. Under Acosta, it has been pretty much the same, it appears. His approach to reducing the amount of regulation has also been criticized as deliberate, if not slow.
The new DOL chief is said to be an enthusiastic champion of deregulation, a specialty of this Administration. Indeed, another commentator has noted that “the corporate community has made no secret for quite some time that they were hoping that Acosta would somehow be removed or step aside so that Pat Pizzella, the deputy secretary, could take over. That’s what’s happening now.”
The new Secretary comes in at an important juncture for the agency. There is still the new overtime rule that needs to be finalized and a “new” clarification of when two entities constitute a joint employer. They need to get done by the 2020 election.
If Acosta was seen to be as moving too slow, I don’t think the same criticism will be leveled at the new Secretary. For employers, for business, this should be a good thing as these regulations need overhauling. In an employer friendly way.