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DOL overtime rule faces additional hurdle - federal judge denies Administration request to delay ruling

On January 3, 2017, Texas U.S. District Court Judge Amos Mazzant denied the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) motion to delay the lawsuit challenging the department’s 2016 overtime pay rule. Last November, Judge Mazzant issued a nationwide preliminary injunction in favor of 21 states and dozens of businesses to block DOL from implementing the overtime regulation, which he stated, seemed to exceed the department’s authority. The rule, which was supposed to take effect on December 1, 2016, would increase the salary threshold for professional employees from $23,660 to $47,476 and would make an estimated 4.2 million additional workers eligible for overtime pay.

Last month, DOL filed a motion in the Texas District Court asking Judge Mazzant to delay a decision on the overtime pay lawsuit until the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on DOL’s appeal of the judge’s preliminary injunction. Since Judge Mazzant rejected DOL’s motion to delay, he could issue a final decision prohibiting DOL from implementing the overtime rule, prior to a ruling by the Fifth Circuit on DOL’s appeal of the injunction.

The appeals court granted DOL’s request for an expedited hearing on its appeal of the injunction. Briefing and oral arguments are scheduled to begin after January 31, 2017 and President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. President-elect Trump has selected Andrew Puzder, chief executive of CKE Restaurants, to lead the department. While both Trump and Puzder have been critical of the overtime rule, neither have said publicly whether the incoming administration plans to defend the overtime pay rule. The Texas American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) has asked the Eastern District Court of Texas to intervene as a defendant in the overtime lawsuit, in case the Trump Administration decides to not defend the rule. 

In 2015, NACo submitted comments to DOL expressing concerns over the increased administrative and financial burden it would impose on the nation’s counties, who employ more than 3.6 million people, providing services to over 305 million county residents. In June, Mineral County, Nev. Commission Chair Jerrie Tipton testified on behalf of NACo before the House Committee on Small Business on the Department of Labor’s overtime rule. Additionally, NACo released an “Analysis of the Impact of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Overtime Rule on Counties.” 

NACo continues to monitor the latest developments on the DOL overtime rule in the judicial, executive and legislative branches of the federal government.

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About Daria Daniel (Full Bio)

Associate Legislative Director – Community, Economic & Workforce Development

Daria Daniel is the Associate Legislative Director for Community, Economic and Workforce Development at NACo. Daria is responsible for all policy development and lobbying for the association in the areas of housing, community, economic and workforce development.