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New Acting Solicitor of Labor Department Signals Emphasis on ‘Humility’

By Bradford T. Hammock
  • March 28, 2017

In some of his first public comments since taking office, Department of Labor Acting Solicitor Nicholas Geale has signaled a shift in policies, telling attendees at a Georgetown University Law Center event that his department will “listen to the regulated community a little more” from a position of a “little bit more humility.”

Speaking to attendees at a continuing legal education event at his alma mater (class of 1999), Geale said, “I think you’ll see in the new administration that we will do a lot more outreach and attempt to assist, particularly, small employers who may not have the ability to have the excellent counsel like the people in this room.”

President Donald Trump named Geale to the position of Deputy Solicitor of Labor on February 17, 2017, making him Acting Solicitor of Labor in accordance with federal law. In August 2013, Geale was named a member of the National Mediation Board. Before that, he served as director of oversight and investigations for ranking member Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) on the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

He said the Department would offer employers, especially “small businesses,” more opportunities to meet standards of regulatory compliance before pursuing enforcement actions. He noted, “We’re very concerned about compliance with small business…. They don’t often have the best advice and capacity to contact attorneys for compliance. So that’s certainly going to be something that I am going to do my best to encourage the department, its agencies and the solicitor’s office, to promote compliance opportunities.”

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