The U.S. Department of Labor has filed its notice to appeal last week's preliminary injunction that prevented the salary-related changes in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act's "white collar" exemptions from taking effect today.

While this was expected, it is still not possible to predict how or when the revisions' status might be settled. Given that President Obama's term will end in less than two months, USDOL must urge the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to act far more quickly than federal appellate courts normally do if the agency really seeks to have the issue resolved on this administration's watch.

Whether the Fifth Circuit will be receptive to such efforts remains to be seen. On the other hand, sometimes the courts will fast-track matters of high importance.

This development emphasizes that employers should proceed thoughtfully, carefully, and deliberately in deciding how to react in an uncertain legal environment.