In what appears to be regarded in many quarters as a surprise move, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis offered her resignation to President Obama, saying, “After much discussion with family and close friends, I have decided to begin a new future, and return to the people and places I love and that have inspired and shaped my life.”
There is speculation by some that this may mean Solis is considering running for office in some capacity in her home state of California.
As of this writing, I haven’t heard of a definite departure date. Although several names have been tossed around, there’s also no word on who Obama might be seriously considering as a replacement.
Solis was the first Latina to head a major federal agency. During her tenure, the DOL stepped up enforcement initiatives in many areas including wage and hour and worker safety. For example, in the email Solis sent to her staff announcing her decision, she stated last year the Wage and Hour Division recovered more than $280 million on behalf of over 300,000 workers. This represented the largest single-year sum to date, according to the email.
It’s doubtful this departure will have a significant impact on programs and initiatives already underway at the Department of Labor. In other words, we can expect the Wage and Hour Division will remain focused on issues such as worker misclassification and will continue to target traditionally low-wage industries that are at high risk of employee underpayment, such as hospitality, food service, retail and the like.
We’ll keep you posted as more information becomes available.