Judge Amos Mezzant of the U.S. District Court of Eastern Texas issued a preliminary injunction against new overtime rules scheduled to go into effect December 1st.
The law has the potential to positively improve the earnings of millions of Americans by making several important changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act—one of the most important aspects being an increase to the salary eligibility threshold from $455 per week to $913 per week or $47,476 per year. This increase would ensure overtime protections to 4.2 million workers.
For now, this along with the other changes originally scheduled to take effect December 1st will have to wait as the judge said his order would hold until further court review. Based on his ruling, the judge accepted the argument of a number of state governments that to allow the rule to go into effect would create harm to employers.
In a Press Release announcing the judge’s decision he said, “Congress intended to create an exemption from the overtime rule in the Wage and Hour laws for employees who were in the executive, administrative and professional categories.”
According to the judge, by increasing the salary threshold to $47,476 annually—a doubling of the previous threshold—the Department of Labor effectively created a “salary test” that consumed the definition of exempt employees. This action, Mezzant said, “exceeded the Department’s authority.”
The Labor Department is expected to seek an immediate review. Until another court issues a contrary order, however, the December 1st implementation date will remain on hold nationwide.