Blog Archives

The Hawaii State Senate has finalized their committee assignments for the 2017 legislative session.  The committees will be chaired as follows:

Ways and Means:  Jill Tokuda
Commerce and Consumer Protection:  Roz Baker
Judiciary and Labor:  Gil Keith-Agaran
Economic Development, Tourism and Technology:  Glenn Wakai
Agriculture and Environment Committee:  Mike Gabbard
Education:  Michelle Kidani
Government Operations:  Donna Kim
Hawaiian Affairs:  Maile Shimabukuro
Higher Education:  Kal Kahele
Housing Committee:  Will Espero
Human Services:  Josh Green
Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs:  Clarence Nishihara
Transportation and Energy:  Lorraine Inouye
Water and Land:  Karl Rhoads

 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently announced that it updated its enforcement guidance for national origin discrimination.  This updated guidance replaces a manual that was issued in 2002.

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In total, the EEOC issued three documents:

According to the EEOC, the updated guidance set’s forth “the agency’s interpretation of the law and explains how federal anti-discrimination laws and regulations apply to specific workplace situations….The guidance also addresses developments in the courts since 2002, as well as topics such as job segregation, human trafficking and intersectional discrimination.”

 

Earlier this year, I reported that a federal judge in Texas had issued a preliminary nationwide injunction against the Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) new Persuader Rule.  The DOL’s new rule was problematic because it would have essentially eliminated what is known as the “advice” exemption under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (“LMRDA”), which allows attorneys and consultants to assist employers with union matters where there is no direct contact between the attorney/consultant and the company’s employees, without having to report the nature of the consultation.  Under the DOL’s new Persuader Rule, disclosure of such arrangements would have been required.

On November 16, 2016, the same judge converted the preliminary injunction into a permanent nationwide injunction.

At this point, we’ll just have to wait and see how the DOL responds (i.e. appeals).  With the Trump administration taking office in less than two months, it will be interesting to see whether the DOL scales back on some of the initiatives it pushed for during the Obama administration.

 

The Hawaii State House of Representatives recently finalized their committee assignments for the 2017 legislative session.  Here are some of the committee assignments that may be of interest to employers:

Consumer Protection & Commerce (CPC)
Chair:  Angus McKelvey
Vice Chair:  Linda Ichiyama

Economic Development & Business (EDB)
Chair:  Mark Nakashima (former Labor Chair)
Vice Chair:  Jarrett Keohokalole

Finance (FIN)
Chair:  Sylvia Luke
Vice Chair:  Ty Cullen

Health (HLT)
Chair:  Della Au Belatti
Vice Chair:  Bert Kobayashi

Judiciary (JUD)
Chair:  Scott Nishimoto
Vice Chair:  Joy San Buenaventura

Labor & Public Employment
Chair:  Aaron Johanson
Vice Chair:  Daniel Holt

 

It looks like Christmas has come early for employers all around the country.  On November 22, 2016, a federal judge from Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction prohibiting the U.S. Department of Labor from enforcing its new rules regarding the executive, administrative, and professional (“EAP”) exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Hooray!

hooray

For all those employers who were going to be converted to non-exempt status solely because of the increased salary threshold, those employees can remain exempt.  For those employees who were set to receive a pay increase due to the new FLSA rules, employers will need to make the tough decision on whether they will still increase employees’ salaries.  Some factors to consider are whether the pay increases have already been implemented or announced, the potential impact on morale, and the company’s budget.

To view a copy of the court’s decision, please click on the following link:  FLSA Rules Preliminary Injunction.

 

The Hawaii Employers Council recently published a brief article discussing the impact that a Trump Presidency could have on the future of labor and employment laws in the United States.  Since Donald Trump has been elected president, there has been no shortage of political pundits and legal experts surmising about what types of labor and employment initiatives we can expect to see in the upcoming years.  Some speculation has been based on statements Trump has made in the past, while others may be linked to his 100-Day Plan to Make America Great Again.  So, with the Trump Presidency just a couple of months away, what does the future hold anyway?

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This article explains that although there are many unknowns about what a Trump Presidency will mean for employers, there are few things that we do know for sure.  You can read the article online here:  President Donald Trump and the Future of Labor & Employment Laws.

 

The election cycle is finally over and the nation’s politicians are starting to prepare for the next round of lawmaking.  At the local level, the Hawaii State Senate and House of Representatives recently announced their leadership structure for the upcoming legislative session.

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The Senate reaffirmed Ron Kouchi as Senate President and the House retained Joe Souki as Speaker.  Other leadership posts in both chambers will remain mostly the same:

For the Senate:

President:  Ron Kouchi
Vice President:  Michelle Kidani (former Education Chair)
Majority Floor Leader:  Will Espero (former Vice President)
Majority Leader:  Kalani English
Majority Caucus Leader:  Brickwood Galuteria
Majority Whip:  Donovan Dela Cruz

Ways and Means Chair:  Jill Tokuda
Commerce and Consumer Protection:  Roz Baker
Judiciary and Labor:  Gil Keith-Agaran
Human Services Commitee:  Josh Green (former Majority Floor Leader/Whip)

(Other Senate committee chairs have not yet been finalized.)

For the House of Representatives:

Speaker:  Joe Souki
Vice Speaker:  John Mizuno
Majority Leader:  Scott Saiki
Majority Floor Leader:  Cindy Evans
Majority Whip:  Ken Ito
Assistant Majority Leaders:  Roy Takumi, Chris Lee and Dee Morikawa
Majority Policy Leader (new position):  Marcus Oshiro
Speaker Emeritus:  Calvin Say

(No House committee chairs have been announced.)