The uncertainty brewing over whether the U.S. Department of Labor’s new overtime rule would actually go into effect on Dec. 1, 2016, came to a halt on the afternoon of Nov. 22 when a Texas federal judge entered a nationwide injunction blocking the DOL from implementing its rule expanding overtime protections.
U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant of the Eastern District of Texas found that the 21 states that challenged the rule were able to effectively show “irreparable harm” if it went into effect, while the DOL could not prove that it would be harmed if the rule were delayed. Mazzant opined that the rule improperly created a salary test for determining which workers fall under the Fair Labor Standards Act’s white-collar exemption by more than doubling the minimum salary threshold required to qualify for the exemption.
“The state plaintiffs have established a prima facie case that the Department’s salary level under the final rule and the automatic updating mechanism are without statutory authority,” Mazzant said.
The judge added that the DOL had exceeded its delegated authority and ignored Congress’s intent by raising the minimum salary level such that it usurps the duties test.
As a result of Mazzant’s injunction, the DOL’s overtime rule will no longer take effect on Dec. 1, 2016.