The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division has no official leader after its acting administrator stepped down due to her nomination for the top position, leaving responsibilities divided among leadership and paving the way for potential arguments in challenges to agency rules.
Jessica Looman joined the Wage and Hour Division as principal deputy administrator at the start of the Biden administration and later became acting administrator while the nomination of David Weil for the top role was pending.
After the Weil nomination failed, President Joe Biden nominated Looman. She stepped down as acting administrator and returned to the principal deputy administrator role, leaving the administrator role vacant. The principal deputy post is the No. 2 role at the division.
Now Looman is overseeing delegable duties, while nondelegable duties revert to Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, a DOL spokesperson previously told Law360. ...
Delegable vs. Nondelegable Duties
As principal deputy administrator under no acting administrator, Looman remains the top official at the Wage and Hour Division, a situation observers said potentially sidesteps Vacancies Act requirements. ...
The Wage and Hour Division has often operated without a Senate-confirmed administrator, and it appears that it has also gone stretches without an acting administrator.
Paul DeCamp of management-side firm Epstein Becker Green, who served as a Wage and Hour Division administrator under former President George W. Bush, said another official could step in for rulemaking if necessary.
"There's always going to be, within some person in the Department of Labor, the authority to actually make decisions at the Wage and Hour Division, whether that's issuing rules or carrying out enforcement proceedings," DeCamp said. "I'm sure that the department will have the regulations issued under the name of whoever the appropriate individual is."