Federal court blocks overtime rule set to take effect on Dec. 1

The U.S Department of Labor rule, which would double the threshold for when full-time salaried employees are no longer automatically eligible for overtime pay, has been put on hold. Currently, employees are automatically eligible for overtime unless they make more than $23,660 a year, but the rule would lift that to $47,476.  Specifically, the U.S. Department of Labor is enjoined from “implementing and enforcing” the new rule, which would have raised the minimum salary for most exempt executive, administrative, and professional employees.  Judge Amos Mazzant, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the rule, saying the Department of Labor exceeded its authority in crafting the rule and that the states would likely succeed in their lawsuit.  Twenty-one states filed an emergency motion for a preliminary injunction in October to halt the rule. They claimed that the Department of Labor exceeded its authority by raising the salary threshold too high and by providing for automatic adjustments to the threshold every three years. The states’ case was consolidated with another lawsuit filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups, which raised similar objections to the rule. “A preliminary injunction preserves the status quo while the court determines the department’s authority to make the final rule as well as the final rule’s validity,” said Mazzant of the Nov. 22 court ruling.