The Obama administration wanted major changes in the threshold for overtime-exempt employees. A ruling from the U.S. Department of Labor in August of 2016 almost doubled what is currently in place. Under the ruling the increase goes from today’s $455 a week — or $23,660 annually — to $913 a week or $46,476 a year.
Business groups and organizations around the country responded instantly. So did 21 states. They put their resources together and filed a suit that landed in a Texas federal court where U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant issued an injunction and said the Labor Department’s rule has to be delayed.
The Labor Department then appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. But Mazzant made that appeal unnecessary when he later ruled that overtime ought to be based on duties and not salary.
When Mazzant made his decision the Labor Department appealed that to the 5th Circuit Court. That’s where we sit now. However, the department is run by the Trump administration. It says once the case is on the court’s docket, a request will be made to hold the appeal in abeyance until the Labor Department “undertakes further rule-making to determine what the salary level should be.”
Some find it odd that the business-focused Trump administration wants to explore this further. Richard Meneghello is an attorney with Portland, Oregon’s Fisher Phillips L.L.P. He says the answer is simple.
“Even though the current administration may disagree with the previous administration on the merits of the rule in terms of how much the salary basis is increased for the overtime requirement, they don’t actually want to concede that they didn’t have the power to issue such a rule if they want to,” he said.
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