Department of Labor (DOL)

Shortly after the DOL’s release of guidance on the use of AI in the workplace, a bipartisan working group from the U.S. Senate and the Biden administration have released additional guidance regarding the use of AI in the workplace.

Bipartisan Senate AI Working Group’s “road map” for establishing federal AI policies

On May 15, 2024, the Bipartisan Senate AI Working Group released a “road map” for establishing federal AI policies. The road map is titled “Driving U.S. Innovation in Artificial Intelligence: A Roadmap for Artificial Intelligence Policy in the United States Senate,” and outlines the opportunities and risks involved with AI development and implementation. Most notably, the road map highlights key policy priorities for AI, such as: promoting AI innovation, investing in research and development for AI, establishing training programs for AI in the workplace, developing and clarifying AI laws and guidelines, addressing intellectual property and privacy issues raised by AI and creating related protections for those affected, and integrating AI into already-existing laws.

The working group acknowledged that the increased use of AI in the workplace poses the risk of “hurting labor and the workforce” but also emphasized that AI has great potential for positive application. This dichotomy necessitates the advancement of additional “innovation” that will create “ways to minimize those liabilities.”Continue Reading Senate Working Group and Biden administration guidance on the use of AI in the workplace

On April 24, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance on how employers should navigate the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in hiring and employment practices. The DOL emphasized that eliminating humans from the processes entirely could result in violation of federal employment laws. Although the guidance was addressed to federal contractors and is not binding, all private employers stand to benefit from pursuing compliance with the evolving expectations concerning use of AI in employment practices.

The guidance was issued by the DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) in compliance with President Biden’s October 30, 2023 Executive Order 14110, which required the DOL to issue guidance for federal contractors on “nondiscrimination in hiring involving AI and other technology-based hiring systems.”

The guidance was issued in two parts: (1) FAQs regarding the use of AI in the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) context, and (2) a list of “Promising Practices” that serve as examples of best practices for mitigating the risks involved with implementing AI in employment practices. In short, the FAQs communicate that established non-discrimination principles apply to the use of AI, and the “Promising Practices” provide specific instruction on how to avoid violations when using AI in employment practices.Continue Reading DOL’s guidance on use of AI in hiring and employment

On April 23, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a final regulatory rule that will raise the minimum salary threshold for employees who are classified as “exempt” under the white-collar exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in two steps: first in July 1, 2024, and then again in January 1, 2025. The new rule also creates a mechanism for subsequent automatic increases every three years thereafter based on then-current economic data, with the next increase slated for July 1, 2027. 

This new rule comes after the DOL proposed these changes last year in August 2023. Under the FLSA and DOL regulations, for an employee to be properly classified as “exempt” from overtime, the employee must be paid at least the minimum salary threshold and the employee’s job position must also meet certain tests regarding their job duties (namely exemptions for job duties performed by executive, administrative, professional, outside sales and computer employees, commonly referred to as the “white collar” exemptions).Continue Reading U.S. Department of Labor mandates two salary threshold increases for white collar FLSA exemptions and a mechanism for future automatic increases

Governmental entities play a vital role in upholding federal labor and employment regulations and would face significant disruption in the event of a government shutdown. In September, we provided a brief review on how a shutdown would affect the government agencies that enforce federal labor and employment laws — the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

On January 10, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published its final independent contractor rule in the Federal Registrar in an attempt to provide greater clarity and consistency on how to classify a worker as an employee or independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

For decades, federal courts have analyzed the question using a multifactor, totality-of-the-circumstances economic reality test, with no factor or factors being dispositive. However, a rule that was published on January 7, 2021, known as the 2021 IC Rule, set forth “core factors” where some factors should be given additional weight over others. The 2021 IC Rule was criticized for not being supported by the DOL’s historical position and not fully aligned with the FLSA’s text.Continue Reading Navigating the labor landscape: Department of Labor announces final rule on independent contractors

Government agencies are integral to the enforcement of federal labor and employment laws and will be dramatically impacted by a government shutdown. Below is a synopsis of the impact on the main government agencies responsible for enforcing federal labor and employment laws—the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); the Department of Labor (DOL); and the

On August 30, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposed a regulatory rule that would raise the minimum salary threshold for employees who are classified as “exempt” under the white collar exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by nearly 55 percent. The proposed rule would also create a new mechanism for subsequent

On August 8, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a final rule that will change the prevailing wage rate landscape for employers on construction projects backed by federal funds (the Rule). The Rule updates regulations to the Davis-Bacon Act and related acts (the Acts) to change the way that prevailing wage rates are

The Biden administration issued new guidance immediately following his Jan. 20 inauguration abrogating former U.S. President Trump’s Executive Order 13950 on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping (the Order). Implementation of EO 13950 had previously been stayed by a preliminary nationwide injunction entered Dec. 22, 2020, in California federal court. As a result, federal contractors or organizations with a federal contract currently have no obligation to revise their diversity and equity training to omit the prohibited training topics set forth in EO 13950.

As previously discussed, EO 13950 sought to reshape the way government contractors performed diversity and equity training. It prohibited, among other things, restrictions on training about affirmative action, discussion of reparations and implicit bias, and guidance regarding limiting micro aggressions. Further, the Order mandated employer postings in the workplace as well as compliance communications with organized labor groups.Continue Reading DOL stops enforcing Executive Order 13950 on diversity training

The Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Wage and Hour Division recently issued three new opinion letters addressing the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA’s) sales exemptions. Two letters address the outside sales exemption, and the third addresses the retail or service establishment exemption.

FLSA2020-6: Do salespeople who travel to different locations to sell their employers’ products using their employers’ mobile assets qualify for the outside sales exemption?

The first opinion letter, FLSA2020-6, addresses whether salespeople who use “stylized” trucks to travel to high-population areas and events to sell products fall within the outside sales exemption of the FLSA.

Ordinarily, a position will qualify for the exemption only if (a) the employee’s primary duty is “making sales” to or “obtaining orders or contracts for services” from customers; and (b) the employee is “customarily and regularly engaged” in performing duties “away from the employer’s place or places of business.”  29 C.F.R. sections 541.500(a), 541.501, 541.502. The exemption includes not only sales work itself, but also “work performed incidental to and in conjunction with the employee’s own outside sales or solicitations.” 29 C.F.R. section 541.500(b).

In FLSA2020-6, the DOL concluded that the employees satisfy both requirements and are therefore exempt.Continue Reading Are your sales employees exempt? DOL provides guidance in three new opinion letters