Labor and Employment

The Issue

As employers, it is critical that colleges and universities be aware of developments in major federal labor and employment laws. The American Council on Education works on a number of employment law and human resources issues impacting higher education institutions, including National Labor Relations Board regulations and rulings, Department of Labor regulations, and labor and employment law cases pending in the courts.

Our Work
Comments on the Department of Labor's Plan to Expand Foreign Worker Certification to STEM Jobs
February 20, 2024
Comments on the Department of Labor's Plan to Expand Foreign Worker Certification to STEM Jobs
On behalf of 18 other higher education organizations, ACE sent comments to DOL in support of expanding the labor certification for permanent employment of foreign workers to include STEM occupations.
Summary: A Stronger Workforce for America Act
December 20, 2023
Summary: A Stronger Workforce for America Act
Summary of the A Stronger Workforce for America Act (H.R. 6655), a bill to amend and reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014.
Comments to the Department of Labor on Proposed Changes to Overtime Regulations
November 7, 2023
Comments to the Department of Labor on Proposed Changes to Overtime Regulations
Along with 48 other higher education organizations, CUPA-HR and ACE wrote to the Department of Labor with concerns about how proposed changes to overtime eligibility would impact colleges and universities.
Request for Extension of Comment Period for Proposed Overtime Rule
October 12, 2023
Request for Extension of Comment Period for Proposed Overtime Rule
Letter to the Department of Labor requesting a 60-day extension to the comment period on the proposed rule to update the salary level to qualify for the so-called “white collar” exemptions under the Fair Labor Standard Act’s overtime pay requirements.
Fact Sheet: Impact on Colleges and Universities of the Potential Changes to the Federal Overtime Rule
September 7, 2023
Fact Sheet: Impact on Colleges and Universities of the Potential Changes to the Federal Overtime Rule
The Department of Labor has announced a proposed rule to update the salary level to qualify for the so-called “white collar” exemptions under the Fair Labor Standard Act’s overtime pay requirements.
Amicus Brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in Support of Northwestern in Retirement Plan Case
October 28, 2021
Amicus Brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in Support of Northwestern in Retirement Plan Case
ACE's brief explains that retirement system for higher education has always looked different than the system for corporate America and that flexibility is needed to administer plans based upon the particular needs and preferences of participants.
Career Pathways for International Students
July 2, 2021
Career Pathways for International Students
This paper looks at how international graduates of U.S. institutions fare in the job market and how their career trajectories are altered as a result of their study-abroad experience.
Amicus Brief: NCAA v. Alston
February 8, 2021
Amicus Brief: NCAA v. Alston
ACE and 10 other associations submitted this amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of the NCAA and 11 athletics conferences in NCAA v. Alston, a case that could alter the current model of intercollegiate athletics.
Letter to DHS on OPT Work Authorization Application Delays
January 26, 2021
Letter to DHS on OPT Work Authorization Application Delays
Recommendations to the Department of Homeland Security on how the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can best extend flexibility to Optional Practical Training (OPT) applicants during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Request to the Department of Labor to Withdraw the RFI on Race and Sex Stereotyping
December 1, 2020
Request to the Department of Labor to Withdraw the RFI on Race and Sex Stereotyping
Letter to the Department of Labor asking for the Request for Information regarding the Trump administration's Executive Order on “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping” be withdrawn.
Request to Withdraw Trump Administration's Executive Order Restricting Diversity Training
October 8, 2020
Request to Withdraw Trump Administration's Executive Order Restricting Diversity Training
Letter to President Trump from ACE and 54 other associations requesting the administration to withdraw the recent executive order titled “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping,” which has caused enormous confusion on campuses and beyond.
Labor Department's Unemployment Guidance Undermines CARES Act Intent
June 1, 2020
Labor Department's Unemployment Guidance Undermines CARES Act Intent
Letter to Sens. Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer seeking relief from the Department of Labor's CARES Act guidance, which is intended to provide emergency unemployment relief to governmental entities and nonprofits.
Amicus Brief: Sacerdote et al v. New York University
April 7, 2020
Amicus Brief: Sacerdote et al v. New York University
ACE filed this brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Sacerdote et al v. New York University, the first case to go to trial among 20 lawsuits challenging the management of 403(b) retirement plans.
Comments to the NLRB on Rule Classifying Student Workers
January 15, 2020
Comments to the NLRB on Rule Classifying Student Workers
Comments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) expressing support for a proposed federal rule that would define undergraduate and graduate student workers as nonemployees under the National Labor Relations Act.
Comments to NASA on Sexual Harassment Reporting Requirements
August 16, 2019
Comments to NASA on Sexual Harassment Reporting Requirements
From ACE and six other higher education institutions in response to the July 17, 2019 Federal Register notice on “Reporting Requirements Regarding Findings of Sexual Harassment, other Forms of Harassment, or Sexual Assault.”
A Look at Five Key Outcomes in Early Adulthood for Associate Degree Earners
June 11, 2019
A Look at Five Key Outcomes in Early Adulthood for Associate Degree Earners
In this brief, the fourth and final in a series, the author explores the impact earning an associate degree has on five key outcomes in early adulthood: employment status, wages, homeownership, voting rates, and volunteerism.
Amicus Brief: University of Southern California v. National Labor Relations Board
November 2, 2017
Amicus Brief: University of Southern California v. National Labor Relations Board
ACE and seven other higher education associations submitted this amicus brief to the National Labor Relations Board in support of University of Southern California’s appeal challenging the Board’s ruling that adjunct faculty members are eligible to for...
Amicus Brief: To the NLRB in Support of The George Washington University on the Issue of Resident Advisor Unionization
December 19, 2016
Amicus Brief: To the NLRB in Support of The George Washington University on the Issue of Resident Advisor Unionization
ACE and 12 other associations filed this brief with Region 5 of the National Labor Relations Board in the matter of The George Washington University and the Service Employees International Union Local 500, involving the issue of whether college and uni...
Issue Brief: Law Firm Sues Private Universities for ERISA Violations
September 7, 2016
Issue Brief: Law Firm Sues Private Universities for ERISA Violations
This issue brief gives an overview of lawsuits filed in August 2016 against private universities alleging that they had breached their fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act in the way they administer their 403(b) retirement...
Comments on the Department of Labor's Draft Overtime Rules
September 4, 2015
Comments on the Department of Labor's Draft Overtime Rules
ACE joined CUPA-HR and 16 other higher education organizations in submitting comments to the Department of Labor's draft regulations governing exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime pay requirements for executive, administrative and prof...
Amicus Brief: Edward C. O'Bannon, Jr. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association
November 21, 2014
Amicus Brief: Edward C. O'Bannon, Jr. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association
Submitted by ACE, the Association of Governing Boards and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in support of the NCAA in its appeal of the O'Bannon class-action antitrust lawsuit.
Latest News
House Committee Approves Bills on Short-Term Pell, WIOA Reauthorization
December 18, 2023
House Committee Approves Bills on Short-Term Pell, WIOA Reauthorization
​Last week, the House Education and the Workforce Committee voted to move forward two bills impacting institutions of higher education: the Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act and the A Stronger Workforce for America Act.
Bridging the Skills Gap: The Promise of Learning and Employment Records
November 27, 2023
Bridging the Skills Gap: The Promise of Learning and Employment Records
​A Q&A with Michele Spires, assistant vice president of ACE Learning Evaluations
ACE, CUPA-HR, Other Groups File Comments on Labor Department Plan to Update Overtime Salary Levels
November 13, 2023
ACE, CUPA-HR, Other Groups File Comments on Labor Department Plan to Update Overtime Salary Levels
Along with CUPA-HR and a number of other higher education associations, ACE submitted comments Nov. 7 on the Department of Labor’s plan to update the salary level to qualify for the so-called “white-collar” exemptions.
Labor Department Proposes New Overtime Rule
September 5, 2023
Labor Department Proposes New Overtime Rule
The Department of Labor has issued a proposed rule to update the salary level to qualify for the so-called “white collar” exemptions under the Fair Labor Standard Act’s overtime pay requirements.
Combatting Employee Burnout and Improving Morale
March 29, 2022
12:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m. ET
Combatting Employee Burnout and Improving Morale
During this focused workshop—consisting of two two-hour sessions—learn to understand the roots of and consequences for burnout and explore ideas for creating a workplace condition that helps workers flourish.
Busting the Ideal Worker Myth to Address Burnout and Morale
February 15, 2022
Busting the Ideal Worker Myth to Address Burnout and Morale
The pandemic has exacerbated burnout and low morale in higher education. Learn to recognize when change is needed and get tactical advice. View the free webinar recording, and sign up for the focused workshop.
Strategies to Combat Employee Burnout and Improve Morale
Strategies to Combat Employee Burnout and Improve Morale
Burnout and low morale in higher education have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Learn to recognize when change is needed and get tactical advice.
Use of HEERF at U.S. Colleges and Universities, Part II
Use of HEERF at U.S. Colleges and Universities, Part II
ACE surveyed college and university presidents about Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) used by their institutions. Responses indicate that the federal relief funds were especially critical for lower-resourced institutions and their students.
Aligning Higher Education, Training, and Jobs for Inclusive Capitalism
June 15, 2021
Aligning Higher Education, Training, and Jobs for Inclusive Capitalism
How can higher education better serve first-generation students? How can skills development be more accessible? Hear on June 15 at 1:00 p.m. (ET) how higher education and training can better address the needs of workers, employers, and communities.
Register Now for Virtual Event on Higher Education and Inclusive Capitalism
June 7, 2021
Register Now for Virtual Event on Higher Education and Inclusive Capitalism
A free virtual event co-hosted by ACE, Markle Foundation, and the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism will bring together experts and stakeholders to discuss how higher education and training can better address the needs of workers and communities.
ACE, Other Associations Ask Supreme Court to Reverse Federal Ruling on College Athletics, Antitrust Laws
February 8, 2021
ACE, Other Associations Ask Supreme Court to Reverse Federal Ruling on College Athletics, Antitrust Laws
An amicus brief was submitted by ACE and 10 other higher education associations supporting an appeal by the NCAA and 11 athletics conferences to the U.S. Supreme Court in NCAA v. Alston.
Associations Urge Biden Administration to Consider Policies and Practices to Help International Students, Dreamers
February 3, 2021
Associations Urge Biden Administration to Consider Policies and Practices to Help International Students, Dreamers
ACE and other higher education organizations are looking at specific policies that can help the Biden-Harris administration restore the United States’ global standing in the world and prioritize reforming the nation’s immigration system.
Federal Court Vacates Proposed Trump Administration Rules That Sought to Restrict H-1B Visas
December 7, 2020
Federal Court Vacates Proposed Trump Administration Rules That Sought to Restrict H-1B Visas
A U.S. District Court judge in California last week struck down new DOL and DHS interim final rules that would have restricted the H-1B visa program for highly skilled workers and drastically increased the wage levels required for hiring H-1B employees.
ACE, Higher Ed Groups Submit Amicus Briefs Opposing New H-1B Visa Rules
November 2, 2020
ACE, Higher Ed Groups Submit Amicus Briefs Opposing New H-1B Visa Rules
ACE and 23 other higher education associations have filed briefs supporting a pair of legal challenges to new Trump administration rules restricting H-1B visas for highly skilled workers.
Amazon Managed Blockchain: Identity Deep Dive
October 21, 2020
Amazon Managed Blockchain: Identity Deep Dive
Join Maggie Hsu and Carl Youngblood of Amazon Managed Blockchain for a discussion of blockchain at Amazon Web Services and decentralized identity use cases, as part of ACE’s Education Blockchain Initiative.
dotEDU Episode 16: Preventing Sexual Harassment in Academia
February 24, 2020
dotEDU Episode 16: Preventing Sexual Harassment in Academia
Frazier Benya, senior program officer at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine talks with Lorelle Espinosa and Sarah Spreitzer about how institutions can go beyond legal solutions to tackle the problem.
ACE, Higher Education Associations Support NLRB Reversal of Decision That Defines Student Workers as Employees
January 21, 2020
ACE, Higher Education Associations Support NLRB Reversal of Decision That Defines Student Workers as Employees
ACE and five other higher education associations submitted comments Jan. 15 to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) expressing support for a proposed federal rule to define undergraduate and graduate student workers as nonemployees.
Labor Department Publishes Final Overtime Rule: What Campuses Need to Know
September 27, 2019
Labor Department Publishes Final Overtime Rule: What Campuses Need to Know
The Department of Labor (DOL) published the final rule increasing the salary threshold for white-collar exemptions to the federal overtime pay requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Associate Degree Earners Are Earning More Money, Contributing More to Society, ACE Report Finds
March 4, 2019
Associate Degree Earners Are Earning More Money, Contributing More to Society, ACE Report Finds
A new research brief published by ACE highlights some of the key benefits to individuals, their families, and their communities of earning an associate degree.
Labor Department Fact Sheet Addresses Questions About Campus Overtime Pay
April 18, 2018
Labor Department Fact Sheet Addresses Questions About Campus Overtime Pay
The Department of Labor has issued a fact sheet on "Higher Education Institutions and Overtime Pay Under the Fair Labor Standards Act" to clarify some key issues about exemptions to federal overtime pay requirements for campus employment.
Federal Judge Blocks Obama Administration's Overtime Pay Rule
November 28, 2016
Federal Judge Blocks Obama Administration's Overtime Pay Rule
​A federal district judge in Texas last week at least temporarily blocked the Department of Labor’s overtime rule set to go into effect Dec. 1, a decision that could have a substantial impact on colleges and universities.
 
 

The Pre-Thanksgiving Policy Roundup

Hear about the Department of Labors proposed new overtime policy and how it could affect campuses on ACE’s November 15, 2023 dotEDU podcast.

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Faculty, Staff Are Burned Out. How Should Higher Ed Respond?

​Learn more about how burnout is affecting employees on America's campuses on ACE’s January 12, 2023 dotEDU podcast.


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