Today, Judge Mazzant of the Eastern District of Texas Sherman Division heard arguments on an Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction regarding changes to the federal salaried exemption threshold, which, absent an injunction, become effective on December 1, 2016.

During the hearing, which lasted over three hours, Judge Mazzant asked several questions that provide insight into the issues he views as important to his ruling. For example, he questioned whether the court had authority to issue a nationwide injunction. He also asked how to reconcile Auer v. Robbins, 519 U.S. 452 (1997), a case that gives broad authority to the Secretary of Labor to “‘define and delimit’ the scope of the exemption for executive, administrative, and professional employees.” Judge Mazzant questioned the Department of Labor on its authority to define the limit. Judge Mazzant also noted that his ruling will not be based on political rhetoric or speculation about the change in administration, but will instead be guided by the law. Although Judge Mazzant took the matter under advisement with a stated hope to rule by November 22, 2016, we will continue to monitor the status. Read minutes from the hearing here.

Regardless of the federal wage and hour battle, there is significant wage and hour activity on the state level that reflects a trend toward increasing minimum wage. While the media coverage of election night focused on the outcome of national votes, four states voted to increase minimum wage, something that will have an immediate impact.

  Wages per hour on or after January 1, 2017 Wages per hour on or after January 1, 2018 Wages per hour on or after January 1, 2019 Wages per hour
on or after
January 1, 2020
Arizona $10.00

 

($7.00 for tipped employees)

$10.50

 

($7.50 for tipped employees)

$11.00

 

($7.00 for tipped employees)

$12.00
($9.00 for tipped employees)
Colorado $9.30

 

 

$10.20 per hour $11.10 per hour $12.00
Maine $9.00

 

($5.00 for tipped employees)

$10.00
($6.00 for tipped employees)
$11.00

 

($7.00 for tipped employees)

$12.00
($8.00 for tipped employees)
Washington $11.00 $11.50 $12.00 per hour $13.50

 

*Jan. 1, 2021 – $13.86

*Jan. 1, 2022 – $14.23

This state level activity follows numerous municipalities approving increases to minimum wage. For example, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Richmond, and Portland (Maine) are among many cities that have adopted minimum wages above their state minimum wage.

  July 1,
2017
July 1,
2018
July 1,
2019
July 1,
2020
 
Los Angeles

 

 

$12.00 $13.25

 

 

$14.25

 

 

$15.00

 

 

 
San Francisco

 

 

$14.00

 

 

$15.00 Adjusted per Consumer Price Index Adjusted per Consumer Price Index  
  January 1, 2017 January 1, 2018 January 1, 2019 January 1, 2020 January 1, 2021
Seattle $11.00 $11.50 $12.00 $13.50 $15.00
Richmond $12.30 $13.00 Adjusted per Consumer Price Index Adjusted per Consumer Price Index  
Portland (Maine) $10.68 Adjusted per Consumer Price Index Adjusted per Consumer Price Index Adjusted per Consumer Price Index  

Unless the court issues the injunction, employers should have plans in place for compliance with state and federal law.