The Department of Justice is Over the Overtime Regulations

Employer Group | Jul 11, 2017

Remember last November when a Texas federal court enjoined the Department of Labor’s overtime regulations (which would have increased the salary threshold to $47,476)?  The court ruled that the Department of Labor does not have the authorized to set salaries for exempt positions (i.e., executive, professional and administrative employees).  Ever wonder what’s happened to those overtime rules since then?  The short answer is, nothing.

Immediately following the ruling, the Department of Labor appealed the decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.  But due to the change in administration, the appellate court granted several extensions to the DOL, resulting in the DOL’s final position brief not being filed with the court until June 30.

In the June 30 brief, the Department of Justice (representing the DOL) abandoned its defense of the actual increase itself.  Instead, the DOJ indicates that it intends to revisit the appropriate salary threshold via a new rule.  However, the DOJ did not completely abandon the case.  It does object to the lower court’s ruling that the DOL does not have authority to set salary level thresholds for exempt employees and will persist in its appeal of that portion of the court’s decision.  Apparently, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta would like a ruling from the Fifth Circuit that the DOL does, in fact, have authority to set the salary level under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  That is the only portion of the lower court’s ruling that the DOJ is appealing; the DOL is not appealing whether the actual $47,476 figure is the appropriate threshold.   Secretary Acosta indicated during his Senate confirmation hearings that he believes the new salary threshold should be around $33,000.

In its brief, the DOJ says the DOL will not issue a new proposed regulation until the litigation is resolved.  So, sit tight; The Employer Group will keep you apprised with any developments.

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