DOL's appeal could result in a lengthy court battle over overtime rule.
Yesterday the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) filed an official notice of appeal at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas challenging a federal judge's ruling blocking the implementation of new overtime regulations.
The new federal overtime rule, which had been slated to go into effect yesterday as well until the judge issued the nationwide injunction, would have raised the salary threshold employees are required to meet in order to be considered exempt for overtime pay under the white collar exemptions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), among other changes.
In a statement issued by a DOL after the judge's ruling on on Wednesday, November 23, the DOL hinted that an appeal might be on the horizon:
“The Department strongly disagrees with the decision by the court, which has the effect of delaying a fair day’s pay for a long day’s work for millions of hardworking Americans. The Department’s Overtime Final Rule is the result of a comprehensive, inclusive rule-making process, and we remain confident in the legality of all aspects of the rule. We are currently considering all of our legal options.”
What happens now?
The DOL's decision to appeal the injunction means that the final rule is not dead, although it is still unclear when, or if, new regulations would go into effect. Experts are predicting that the legal process could be quite lengthy, and whatever decision is made might even end up appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. It's also unclear how a Trump administration would choose to handle the issue, if a decision is not reached before President-elect Trump takes office, although many have speculated that he wouldn't pursue it.
What this means for employers:
As a leading national professional employer organization (PEO) and HR outsourcing firm, G&A Partners has been helping its clients prepare for the changes to the overtime regulations for the past several months and, now, strategize on how to proceed in light of the injunction.
Businesses that have already implemented plans to comply with overtime regulations in the rule prior to the injunction should be cautious about unravelling them, especially given the renewed life the DOL's appeal gives the rule.
Businesses that have not already implemented any changes, but were planning to do so, might want to consider holding off on doing so until a final decision is reached, although that will likely not be for several months.
This article is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.