Legislative Updates for April 12-30, 2014

Minimum Wage Bill Fails to Advance in Senate

As expected, Senate supporters of the Minimum Wage Fairness Act (S. 2223) failed to garner the 60 votes needed to bring the measure to a floor vote without the threat of a filibuster.  The legislation – which would have raised the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour in increments over a three-year period and indexed future increases to inflation – was considered a symbolic component of President Obama’s “Opportunity for All” agenda laid out in his State of the Union Address. The motion to invoke cloture on the Minimum Wage Fairness Act failed by a vote of 54-42. Read the full post here. (April 30, 2014)

Littler Shareholder Greg Keating Testifies at Senate Subcommittee Hearing on Whistleblowing

During a Senate Subcommittee hearing on the adequacy of private sector whistleblower laws, Littler Shareholder and co-chair of the firm’s Whistleblowing and Retaliation Practice Group Gregory Keating urged lawmakers to “consider alternatives to increased penalties and deterrents in the whistleblowing context,” and recommended ways in which employers can adopt and promote cultures of compliance that encourage employees to approach management about their concerns before safety issues arise. Read the full post here. (April 29, 2014)

Senate Confirms David Weil as New Wage and Hour Administrator

The revised Senate rule allowing certain presidential nominations to be confirmed with a simple majority vote – previously ridiculed as the “nuclear option” – enabled the Senate on Monday to confirm David Weil as the next administrator of the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD). The vote was 51-42 in favor of his nomination. Read the full post here. (April 28, 2014)

Immigration Update for April 12-30, 2014

Department of Justice Settlements a Good Reminder of Employer Obligations under Employment Verification Laws

Employers work hard to make sure they comply with federal immigration law, but they must remember not to take their efforts too far. Last week, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) reminded employers everywhere of their obligations to treat both citizen and non-citizen employees alike when it comes to verifying the employment eligibility of individuals, to the tune of $155,500 in civil penalties. Read the full post here. (April 29, 2013).

White House Plans to Allow Work Authorizations for Spouses of H-1B Visa Holders, as Well as to Enhance Opportunities for Outstanding Professors and Researchers

In a press release dated April 7, 2014, the White House announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will soon publish proposed rules, as part of the “Attracting the World’s Best and Brightest” initiative, to allow spouses of certain H-1B visa holders to be eligible for employment authorization to work in the U.S.  This effort will be part of a series of steps to strengthen entrepreneurship in the United States and abroad, as well as attract high-skilled immigrants to the United States. Read the full post here. (April 17, 2014).

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.