Labor Department Confirms Plans for Overtime Appeal

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By Christine Pulfrey

The Labor Department confirmed Oct. 30 that it plans to appeal a federal district court’s recent ruling against the department’s white-collar overtime final rule and to then ask that the appeal be put on hold while it prepares a new rule.

The Justice Department, on behalf of the Labor Department, “filed a notice to appeal this decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit,” the department said in a news release.

Once the appeal of this latest decision is recognized by the court, the department plans to ask that the matter be put on hold while it issues a new rulemaking on the overtime rule, which potentially could include re-adjusting the salary threshold below which workers are eligible for overtime. the release said.

The overtime final rule, which was published May 23, 2016, and was to take effect Dec. 1, 2016, was prevented from taking effect by a federal district court that ruled that the Labor Department did not have the authority to issue the rule, which would have more than doubled to $47,476, from $23,660, the salary threshold below which workers would automatically be eligible to earn overtime.

The overtime rule remained on hold throughout much of 2017 while the Labor Department appealed the federal district court ruling. Before oral arguments, which were scheduled for Oct. 3, could take place, the department requested and received permission from the court to dismiss the appeal ( Nevada v. DOL, 5th Cir. App., No. 16-41606, motion granted to dismiss 9/6/17).

The department abandoned its original appeal after a federal district court issued an Aug. 31 ruling on consolidated cases that challenged the overtime final rule, invalidating the rule and holding that its revision to the minimum salary threshold exceeded the department’s authority ( Nevada v. DOL, E.D. Tex., No. 4:16-CV-731, 8/31/17).

On June 30, the Labor Department had asked the federal appeals court to affirm the Labor Department’s authority to take salary into account for overtime purpose but to “not address the validity of the specific salary level set by the 2016 [overtime] final rule ($913 per week), which the department intends to revisit through new rulemaking.”

On July 26, 2017, the department asked in a request for information for public input on what changes the department should propose in its rulemaking. The comment period has ended and the department is reviewing submissions, it said in the news release.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Pulfrey at cpulfrey@bna.com. To contact the editor on this story: Michael Baer at mbaer@bna.com.

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