Despite worker groups' opposition, wage and hour attorneys predict that Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants—the parent company of the Carl's Jr. and Hardee's burger chains—will be confirmed by the Senate as the next secretary of labor. Employers can then expect Department of Labor (DOL) regulations implemented under the Obama administration to be re-examined or repealed.

Puzder has been a firm opponent of the overtime rule, for example. However, congressional action could nullify the overtime regulations more swiftly than DOL rulemaking.

Worker groups and Congressional Democrats have been vocal about their opposition to President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Puzder as nominee for that post.

"The nominee has been outspoken in his criticism of the changes to the white-collar exemptions in the overtime rule,” noted Steven Suflas, an attorney with Ballard Spahr in Denver. But "these changes were the result of formal rulemaking, and withdrawing the changes through the rulemaking process would be time-consuming. Congressional action could void the changes. And it is possible that the new administration could simply consent to the continuation of the recent nationwide court injunction against the new rule. However, the current administration has put on the fast track an appeal to the 5th Circuit of the district court's ruling."

Suflas said Puzder might change the DOL's interpretation of the law as it pertains to joint employers, which was expanded by the Obama administration to make it easier for two employers to be liable for the labor law violations of one. "The DOL recently announced an unprecedented agreement with Subway regarding wage and hour issues among its franchisees," he said. "This initiative may also be scaled back."

Suflas called the selection of Puzder "an unusual choice—a wealthy businessman with no governmental or political experience." He compared the choice to the Reagan administration's nomination of construction company executive Raymond Donovan to secretary of labor.

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