Federal Court Blocks New Overtime Rules … For Now
Roofing contractors around the country concerned about the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s (DOL) new rule to expand overtime benefits to workers need not worry — at least for a little while longer.
In a pre-Thanksgiving surprise ruling, a federal judge from the Eastern District of Texas issued an opinion stopping the new rules from taking effect on Dec. 1. The ruling was the latest development in a lawsuit filed by 21 states — Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin — against the DOL and its leader, Secretary Thomas E. Perez.
A group of more than 50 business organizations are also part of the lawsuit.
The new rule dramatically changed the exemption classifications for employees eligible for overtime, raising the salary threshold from $23,660 annually to $47,476 per year. The change was expected to make 4.2 million salaried workers newly eligible for overtime pay. Business leaders were also concerned about an ‘updating’ clause embedded within the rule that called for further increases to the threshold after three years.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant III issued a preliminary injunction blocking the new wage threshold nationwide — denying the government’s request to enforce it in states that were not part of the lawsuit. He also said the DOL exceeded its authority under the Fair Labor Standards Act by issuing the executive order. The DOL refuted that position and said it will weigh its options, including the possibility of an appeal, Bloomberg News reported.