It may seem hard to believe, but it was nearly five months ago that a federal district court entered a nationwide preliminary injunction halting the U.S. Department of Labor’s new Fair Labor Standards Act regulations on the “white collar” overtime exemptions. The ruling came less than ten days before the regulations were scheduled to go into effect on December 1, 2016.
Since the trial court hit the “pause button” in late November, however, things have been fairly quiet on this front. As you might expect, the DOL (which was still headed by an Obama appointee) appealed the ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and filed a brief arguing that the injunction should be overturned. The parties that opposed the regulations have filed their brief arguing that the injunction should stand. Since President Trump took office in January, the DOL has asked the Fifth Circuit for two extensions of time to file its reply brief so as “to allow incoming leadership personnel adequate time to consider the issues” or whether to continue the appeal at all.
The reply brief was due in just a few days, but earlier this week, the Fifth Circuit granted a third extension request, placing the deadline for the DOL’s reply brief at June 30, 2017. It would appear that this request was granted in part because President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, has not yet been voted on by the Senate. As a result, there is not expected to be a ruling by the Fifth Circuit on the injunction question until the summer or even the fall.
Although this development provides temporary relief for employers, this issue is far from settled. We will be sure to update you on any key developments in this litigation.