Donald Trump will soon be our nation's 45th president. While many are still reveling in the historic significance of this election, this article contains some quick predictions on what a Trump administration could mean for workplace law and the nation's employers.
Supreme Court and judicial appointments
It appears that Trump will have an opportunity to fill at least one vacancy on the Supreme Court (SCOTUS), the seat previously held by Justice Antonin Scalia. If Trump has the opportunity to nominate a replacement, it is fair to assume that the conservative status quo will be restored, especially if he nominates one of the individuals he named during his campaign.
Future vacancies in the SCOTUS cannot be predicted, but it is worth noting that the three oldest justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg (83), Anthony Kennedy (80) and Stephen Breyer (78) are liberal or moderate. It is highly likely that there could be at least one additional vacancy before 2020 and a real chance that Trump will be able to appoint two additional justices besides the current vacancy.
The make-up of the SCOTUS becomes important when you consider the workplace law issues that could come before the court. Arbitration provisions, class action litigation (including class waivers), union agency shop fees, the scope and coverage of Title VII, immigration programs, wage and hour law, healthcare and administrative agency powers are just some of the issues likely to confront the SCOTUS.
Moreover, currently more than 100 federal judgeships are vacant. Some pundits are already challenging Trump to fill these seats in the first 100 days. With a Republican Senate, this ambitious goal could be achieved. Given that federal judges are appointed for life, this influx of conservative judges could affect judicial interpretations for decades.
Executive orders and affirmative action
In the face of a resistant Congress, President Barack Obama made liberal use of the presidential power to issue executive orders. While it is difficult to know exactly what is in store, it is possible that Trump could unilaterally undo some of the more burdensome or objectionable executive orders, such as the one on Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces.
In the area of affirmative action, Trump's background as a businessman might lead employers to believe he will resist efforts to increase data collection. However, Trump may want to reach across the aisle and support female-supportive programs in an effort to repair some...