Paul DeCamp Quoted in “Acosta Departure Paves Way for Pro-Biz Shift at DOL”


Paul DeCamp, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC office, was quoted in Law360, in “Acosta Departure Paves Way for Pro-Biz Shift at DOL,” by Braden Campbell. (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta is stepping down from the agency in favor of second-in-command Patrick Pizzella in a changing of the guard that signals a more aggressively pro-business stance from the nation’s wage law enforcer. …

Deputy Labor Secretary Pizzella, a Washington veteran, will be more willing to “hit the gas” once he assumes the acting secretary mantle, said Epstein Becker Green wage and hour group co-chair Paul DeCamp.

“Acosta is first and foremost a lawyer, and a cautious one at that,” said DeCamp, who was Pizzella’s colleague at the DOL under President George W. Bush. “Pizzella is more about getting things done.” …

Still, it seemed Acosta might quickly fulfill the new administration’s business-friendly promise after he withdrew two pieces of Obama-era legal guidance aimed at curbing the misclassification of workers as independent contractors and holding more businesses jointly liable for abusing shared workers.

“When he made those changes right out of the gate, there was a sense that perhaps Acosta would be a bold leader who would move quickly,” DeCamp said.

But Acosta’s work since then “has tempered the enthusiasm of the business community,” he said.

Acosta’s caution has been most apparent in his approach to enforcement, DeCamp said. In addition to interpreting workplace laws in ways favoring workers, the Obama administration sought to make examples of violators by extracting lofty damages and penalties. Under Acosta, agency field officials have largely stayed the course, said DeCamp.