Employment Law Predictions for 2017

Whatever your political views, it is undeniable that the last several weeks have been fascinating, to say the least. The most interesting thing about labor and employment law is that any change can affect our clients because any change can impact employees.

That said, there will likely be a number of changes to employment laws specifically. Given this President’s ideologies, I suspect that he will attempt – through Executive Order – to eliminate a number of protected categories (e.g., sexual orientation) such that people who previously could not be discriminated against because of their membership in those categories will now be exposed anew. We can also expect that he will do all he can to eliminate same sex couples’ ability to marry, or at the very least, to limit their access to the same rights that male-female couples enjoy (e.g., rights relating to taxes, family and medical leave, etc.). And, one can only imagine the changes that would occur if the Senate confirms a Secretary of Labor with no government experience who is the former CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. (parent to Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.).

So far, however, the only action the President has taken that relates on its face to employment have been his January 23, 2017 Executive Order freezing hiring across the Executive Branch, and his January 20, 2017 Executive Order encouraging the agencies administering the Affordable Care Act to grant liberally all exemptions to the implementation of the Act.

Although it is quite clear that the President intends to do all he can unilaterally via Executive Order, we can also expect that lawyers and judges will do all they can to apply the necessary checks and balances on that power, as we have seen with the recent issues surrounding the injunction on the enforcement of an executive order that attempted to apply a travel ban targeting Muslims from specific international states. It is nearly impossible to watch this impartially, but I will do my best to report and analyze these issues as neutrally as possible…Stay tuned…

In the meantime, let me know – what issues are you keeping you eye on the most?