A Texas district court judge struck down the Obama administration’s overtime rule on Aug. 31, 2017, finding that the Department of Labor (DOL) had exceeded its authority in adopting a new salary threshold that would have entitled an estimated 4.2 million workers to overtime compensation.
As Judge Amos Mazzant noted in his opinion, Congress intended eligibility for overtime to be primarily based upon whether workers perform certain “white collar” duties. While the DOL has authority to determine the essential qualities of the duties that exempt workers from overtime eligibility, Mazzant stated that the department may not use a salary-level test that essentially eliminates the duties test. He found that the DOL did just that by more than doubling the salary threshold to over $47,000.
Mazzant had previously issued a preliminary injunction halting the implementation of the overtime rule. An appeal of that decision is pending before the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, although it should be rendered moot by the Aug. 31 final judgment.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has signaled it will attempt to revise the overtime rule, likely setting the salary threshold somewhere between the current level and the level set by the Obama administration. In July, the DOL released a Request for Information, seeking public input on revising the Obama-era rule.