Win for treeplanters: Appeals Court rules DOL has no authority to issue H-2B Rules

Earlier this week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the decision of the United States District Court of the Northern District of Florida that the U.S. Department of Labor lacks the authority to issue regulations governing the H-2B guestworker program.  This decision upholds the lower court’s preliminary injunction (in Bayou Lawn and Landscape Services v. Solis). 

The decision affects DOL’s 2011 “Program Rule,” which would impose unworkable stipulations on employees using temporary guestworkers under the H-2B Visa program.  The ruling is important to the contractors that forestland owners depend on for reforestation.  While DOL has not exhausted its legal options in this case, this recent ruling bodes well for our continued efforts to return the H-2B guestworker program to a reasonable structure.  The Federal Regulations Advisor has an insightful article at this link.

FRA continues to work closely with our allies to determine the full implications of the decision, and its possible impact on the related “Wage Rule” case, and will continue to keep you updated.