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Federal Judge Blocks New FLSA Overtime Rule

Earlier this week, a federal judge issued an injunction halting a new Fair Labor Standards Act rule. Introduced by the Obama administration and set to take effect Dec. 1, the rule would have increased the overtime threshold to $47,476 from $23,660, entitling 4 million workers to overtime pay.
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U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant III ruled that in raising the minimum salary level for exempt workers, the Department “exceeds its delegated authority and ignores Congress’s intent such that it supplants the duties test.” (The “duties test” refers to one of the conditions that determine which workers are exempt from overtime rules.)

“The decision seems to mean that it’s up to lawmakers in Congress to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act if they want to raise the salary threshold for automatic overtime eligibility from the current level, about $24,000 per year,” explained Chris Opfer, Tyrone Richardson, and Ben Penn at the Daily Labor Report. “But President-elect Donald Trump’s administration is expected to also consider publishing a new regulation to either tweak the one on hold or scrap it altogether.”

The plaintiffs in the case included Nevada and 20 other states. Various business groups were also opposed to expanding overtime pay.

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What Happens Next?

The Department of Labor issued a statement shortly after the injunction, saying:

The Department strongly disagrees with the decision by the court, which has the effect of delaying a fair day’s pay for a long day’s work for millions of hardworking Americans. The Department’s Overtime Final Rule is the result of a comprehensive, inclusive rule-making process, and we remain confident in the legality of all aspects of the rule. We are currently considering all of our legal options.

If the DOL decides to appeal, they’ll have to go through the 5th District Court, which the LA Times characterized as “the nation’s most conservative federal appellate court.” That obviously doesn’t bode well for an interpretation that favors expanding overtime protections.

On the other hand, at The Times points out, there’s 70-plus years of history to consider.

“…using salary as one of the determining factors has now been on the books for more than 70 years, under administrations Democratic and Republican,” writes The LA Times Editorial Board. “If Congress objected to the Labor Department using salary as a factor in determining exemptions, it has had ample time to do so and amend the laws to state categorically that it didn’t want salary used. Congress’ lack of action affirms its intent to exempt some work from overtime protections, and to let the secretary of Labor determine how to do it.”

Tell Us What You Think

What’s your take on this ruling? We want to hear from you. Tell us your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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Zayda
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Zayda

The company I work for is still implementing this starting December 1st.

Laurie
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Laurie

You will get a notification from your company saying it’s on hold. They can’t implement something that isn’t a law right now.

Dave
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Dave

I have to disagree, they can raise their minimum wage if they want to regardless of the change in the law. Many companies are lowering commissions for sales people and increasing the minimum wage which makes them more competitive with new hires.

EZE
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EZE

I just received the very hold notification you mentioned. Very disheartening.

Dee
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The company I work for informed me after I had clocked in on Monday that a judge had filed a appeal and I would not be clocking…little late notice?? I just accepted a salaried position with only a yearly salary for less pay because of this law now I feel like a fool!!

John
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John

Yea right. First judges don’t file appeals.

Second your saying you accepted a job based on your negotiations with your new employer or because you thought the sale art they were offering would be overruled by the courts?

Our job is to negotiate a salary we’re comfortable with. Don’t work overtime if you will be exempt and not get paid.

Joanna
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Joanna

Judges don’t file appeals complainants do.

You don’t take a job based on a lawsuit but based on your negotiations with the employer. Did you think you would make double what the employer offered? Your comment doesn’t make sense saying you accepted a job based on this case you didn’t know the ruling of the case or how it would be implemented

Joanna
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Joanna

Our courts can’t determine a nations salaries. Salaries are determined by the worker if your not happy, get a different job.

Furious
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Furious

University of Miami implemented as well in Nov with HR telling us “Merry Christmas and enjoy your new found fortune.” Now they sent us an email saying it’s all on hold till further notice! Such a prestigious organization and now they want it back! What a bunch of crooks! Is there something we can do to keep those increases given to us in WRITING??

Ninu
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Ninu

I know several companies that went ahead and implemented the new standards. Wish ours would too.

Gina
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Gina

I am happy to say my company implemented it effective Nov 19. Too late to take it back…….Thanks President Obama…….Boo to the federal judge, I am sure he makes millions.

Rich
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Rich

I am sorry for you Gina. No its not too late to change the rule to implement a proposed law that Congress was left out of voting on. Mr Obama always used his pen instead of consulting Congress, a big mistake. Mr Trump will change all that. The Federal Judge was right in stopping a illegal law.

Hillary
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Hillary

If we think this is bad now, just wait until Trump’s cronies block every wage increase…. folks thought they’d get better pay, fewer taxes, more jobs… boy, are they going to be in for a rude awakening. Disgraceful. Keep us occupied with lgbt and women’s rights, while the rich will just keep on getting richer. Don the Con already has 3 wall street guys (goldman sachs) and a bunch of hard right washington insiders on his inner time. It’s gonna be bad, folks.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Clinton was backed by Wall street.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

And Trump by the same. Wall Street bought most of the politicians anyway. Do you have any doubts?

Dawn
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Dawn

Yes, it would be nice. But don’t give up your power to improve your skills and get better pay at a company who is willing to pay you for your efforts instead of waiting for the gov’t to pass a law. Everyone please remember that when the gov’t puts ANY law in place it ALWAYS comes with a price. I do mean ANY law, even the ones that seem ‘nice’. There are always unintended consequences. For example, companies that would not normally pay a position this much money, but are ordered to by law, will simply eliminate those positions somehow,… Read more »

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