Last week, President Trump appointed EEOC Commissioner Victoria Lipnic as Acting Chair of the EEOC and appointed NLRB Board Member Philip Miscimarra as Acting Chair of the NLRB.
As an EEOC Commissioner, Lipnic served as a member of the EEOC’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the workplace. Prior to her time with the EEOC, Lipnic served as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment Standards under President George W. Bush from 2002 through 2009. In that role, she oversaw the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs and the Office of Labor Management Standards. One notable point of dissension by Lipnic during her time with the EEOC is that she was opposed to the revamped EEO-1 Report, which is now required of employers. Since her appointment is only as Acting Chair, President Trump could choose a different permanent Chair but it is unlikely since Lipnic is the sole Republican Commissioner.
Miscimarra has served as a Member of the NLRB since August 2013. He is the only Republican currently serving on the Board. In addition to Miscimarra’s appointment, there are two vacant seats on the five-member Board. This means President Trump will be able to fill the vacant seats with Republicans, thus giving the Board a Republican majority. With this majority, the Board likely will revisit many of the recent decisions and actions by the NLRB during the least eight years. Employers can expect less oversight and enforcement actions regarding employee handbooks as well as many other areas the Board oversees. This is even more so because Miscimarra dissented from Board opinions that sought to expand the National Labor Relations Act’s definition of protected activity, including in the area of employee handbooks and workplace rules.
One other date to keep an eye on is November 2017 when the term of the NLRB’s General Counsel comes to an end and President Trump nominates his successor. At that point, the NLRB could have a Republican majority and a Republican General Counsel.