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Court Blocks H-2B Change

Temporary injunction issued regarding H-2B program.

American Horse Council
May 1, 2012

Generic Racing Photo

On April 26, a judge on the U.S. District Court in Florida issued a temporary injunction prohibiting the Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing the new H-2B temporary guest worker program rule as well as the new H-2B wage rule. These rules, if they go into effect, will make significant changes to the way the H-2B program operates for all employers including those in the horse industry. The new H-2B rule was originally set to go into effect on April 23, 2012. The wage rule was to go into effect January 1, 2012, however Congress had already blocked that rule until October 1, 2012. The temporary injunction will last for at least 74 days after which time the judge will issue a final ruling.

The H-2B program is used by members of the horse industry, principally horse trainers and owners who cannot find American workers to fill semi-skilled jobs at racetracks, horse shows, fairs and in similar non-agricultural activities.

The American Horse Council, in conjunction with other H-2B users, opposes implementation of both new H-2B rules.  The AHC believes the new rules will make the H-2B program even more costly and burdensome for employers who are forced to use the program.  More information on the final H-2B rule can be found on the AHC website and information on the wage rule can be found here on the AHC website.

Last year a coalition of H-2B users initiated legal action challenging the DOL's authority to issue these new H-2B rules.  The Florida judge found the case against the DOL to have enough merit to issue a temporary injunction prohibiting DOL from implementing either of the new rules until the court has time to make a final ruling on the case. The H-2B users challenging the rule and the DOL now have 60 days to make motions for summary judgment and another 14 to respond to the opposing parties' motions, after which the judge will issue a ruling.

If you have any questions please contact the AHC.