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News & Press: DLI

Change in Tone at the DOL?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017   (0 Comments)
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By Sandy Seay, Seay Management Consultants

Although the Trump Administration has been in office for just a few weeks, the change in tone at the Department of Labor is extraordinary.  The Department of Labor website is  We visit the site frequently to check on new or changed regulations and we’re also on their email alert mailing list.  The previous Department of Labor presented employers, on the web site and in other places, in a very negative light, in that employers were constantly taking advantage of employees and the Department of Labor was constantly uncovering employer wrong doing and forcing the recalcitrant employer to pay back wages and fines.

The new Department of Labor website is completely different with a remarkable change in tone.  Now, the web site seems to present employees, employers and the Department of Labor as cooperating partners, helping to make the workplace better.  This is a refreshing and welcome change of tone.  Most employers I know are not trying to take advantage of employees.  To the contrary, most employers I know are doing their best to comply with regulations and to treat employees equally and fairly and with respect and dignity.  My sense is that this new tone from the Department of Labor will result in greater satisfaction and cooperation on the part of both employees and employers, and will definitely ease the tension between employers and the Department of Labor.

For example, the previous Department of Labor had issued a rule that would more than double the required minimum salary level for exempt employees, but a Texas judge came along at the midnight hour and issued a preliminary injunction, effectively blocking the regulation.  The previous DOL website had a good deal of information, articles and essays about this increase, mostly making the point that “employees had been denied overtime” and this new rule would get it for them.  That’s not true, of course, but that’s how the DOL presented its case.

On the new DOL website, the question of an exempt salary level is nowhere to be found.  Whether the minimum salary level for exempt employees ought to be raised is a question worthy of debate, but presenting the employers as conniving manipulators seems to me to be a poor messaging practice.  The new website has lots of helpful information, presented in a positive and encouraging way.  I particularly like the sections that include “Popular Topics” and the “Top 20 Most Requested Questions.”

So, in our view, a previously provocative and antagonistic website has been changed into a cooperative and helpful one and in response I would say, “Well done, DOL.”

So, if you have a question about management rights, the Department of Labor, or any other Human Resources Management issue, please call or email your Seay Management Consultant.  We are always very glad to talk with you.

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