Kate O’Scannlain was confirmed as the Solicitor of Labor for the U.S. Department of Labor by the Senate on December 21, 2017. O’Scannlain will serve as the Agency’s top lawyer, helping the Labor Department set the policy and enforcement agenda. Prior to her confirmation, O’Scannlain was a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, LLP.
During her confirmation hearing, O’Scannlain recognized the challenging times that the American workforce faces and vowed to collaborate with career officials at the Labor Department and listen to all stakeholders before committing to any course of action. She testified that she would help further the Trump Administration’s Labor agenda, including job creation, advancing opportunities through apprenticeship and job-training programs, improving workplace safety, assisting veterans in finding work, and assuring work-related benefits and rights are protected.
O’Scannlain also noted during her confirmation hearing that the vast majority of employers want to comply with the law and that many employers spend a significant amount of money on compliance costs but that the rules and regulations are unclear and confusing. She testified that the laws “should not be a game of ‘gotcha’ or involve gamesmanship using novel legal theories.” She committed to helping employers understand their obligations to their workforce and to reduce unnecessary redundancies in the law.
President Trump’s nominee to head OSHA—Scott Mugno—will need to be re-nominated by President Trump before the Senate can vote due to a Senate rule that all nominations are returned to the President at the end of the year if not confirmed.