President Donald Trump Nominates R. Alexander Acosta to be Secretary of Labor
As we covered in December last year (here), then President-elect Trump nominated controversial Andrew F. Puzder to head the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Fast forward to 2017 and nominee Puzder withdraws his name from consideration of the DOL post. His decision to withdraw on February 15th ended weeks of speculation and criticism from various industry sectors due to his company's treatment of its employees, his positions on the minimum wage, overtime regulations, and immigration, and knowledge of his hiring of an undocumented housekeeper. One day later, on February 16th, President Trump nominated R. Alexander Acosta to be Secretary of Labor.
Alex Acosta's Background
It doesn't appear that Acosta, with primarily public sector and academic experience, has the issues that plagued Mr. Puzder's nomination. In fact, Acosta has been confirmed by the Senate on three prior occasions. First, to become a National Labor Relations Board member, then to become Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and finally when he was nominated to be U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.
Most notably, Acosta was appointed by President George W. Bush as member of the National Labor Relations Board, and served as a Board member from December 17, 2002, through August 21, 2003. Acosta reportedly authored approximately 125 opinions during his tenure on the Board.
Acosta is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He clerked for Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. when Alito was a Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Philadelphia. Acosta then went into private practice at the Washington, D.C. law firm Kirkland & Ellis and taught law at the George Mason School of Law. Acosta is currently the Dean of Florida International University's law school. He is the son of Cuban immigrants and if he is confirmed, Acosta would be the first Hispanic member of Trump's Cabinet.
It is believed that Acosta would help facilitate President's Trump initiatives to lessen the regulatory burden on businesses, while his public service and experience on the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, provide a much less controversial background and perspective compared to Trump's first nominee.
California Labor Lawyers
The experienced labor lawyers at Kingsley & Kingsley will continue to monitor Acosta's confirmation process although the schedule of confirmation hearings has not yet been published. Only time will tell what level of support is garnered for Acosta by labor attorneys and large unions in California and across the country. In the meantime, if you have any questions about California's existing employment laws, don't hesitate to call us toll free at (888) 500-8469 or contact us via email.