On August 31, 2017, Texas District Judge Amos Mazzant submitted a Memorandum, Opinion and Order, which invalidated the U.S Department of Labor’s revised overtime rules from the Obama Administration. Last December Judge Mazzant granted an emergency motion for a nationwide, preliminary injunction barring the rules which were scheduled to take effect December 1, 2016. The rules, which were discussed for years, would have doubled the salary level required for employees to be classified as exempt “white collar” executive, administrative or professional employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The new salary level would have increased from $23,660 to $47,476. In enjoining the rules, Judge Mazzant found that the DOL had exceeded its authority and that the salary test would supplant the duties tests for exempt employees under the FLSA. The Department of Labor appealed the decision granting the injunction and sought to have the district court litigation stayed pending the appeal, a move which Judge Mazzant denied.
In granting an expedited motion for summary judgment filed by plaintiffs, Judge Mazzant again found that the DOL had exceeded its authority in enacting the overtime rules. The rules failed to give effect to unambiguous criteria set out by Congress for exempt employees in the FLSA. Many exempt employees would be so classified based on salary alone, something which the DOL does not have the authority to do. The Court also found that the automatic updating mechanism in the rules that would have adjusted the minimum salary level every three years is unlawful. It remains to be seen if the DOL will appeal this final decision from the Court.
If you have any questions about how this may affect your business, please feel free to contact us at (505) 247-0411.