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Robert Boonin Quoted in Bloomberg BNA's Daily Labor Report Article

Expresses Hope that Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division Will “Retrench” from Current Tough Stance on Regulatory Compliance

January 31, 2014

Robert A. Boonin, Detroit-based member in Dykema’s Labor & Employment practice, is quoted in an article posted on the January 28, 2014 edition of the Bloomberg BNA's Daily Labor Report, an subscriber-only news service for legal practitioners in the labor and employment space. The article—“Awaiting New Head, Wage and Hour Division Focuses on Targeted Enforcement”—focuses on the wage collection and enforcement activities the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) continues to conduct, even as it awaits the outcome of the confirmation process for its nominated chief.

In the article, Boonin—who, in addition to his Dykema responsibilities, chairs the Wage and Hour Defense Institute (a nationwide network of highly talented and experienced wage and hour defense attorneys, organized under the auspices of the Litigation Counsel of America) as well as the State Bar of Michigan's Labor & Employment Law Section—states that he’d like the WHD to “retrench somewhat from its tough stance on regulatory compliance.”

Boonin notes, “The recent trend—and one which we hope will fade—makes it appear that the Department of Labor assumes the employers wish to violate the law. But in reality, most employers try to comply with the law, but sometimes the law is just unclear.”

Boonin adds that the defense bar has concerns about the Labor Department’s “general position that certain penalties may be assessed without formal adjudication.” He expresses apprehension that the WHD “appears primed to short-circuit the adjudication process and impose penalties normally reserved for after there’s been a full adjudication of the matter.”

Boonin remains hopeful, however, that in the coming year “the Department of Labor will view employers through a more understanding and cooperative lens.”