A federal court judge in Texas has struck down a controversial overtime change to the Fair Labor Standards Act (or FLSA) put in place by the Department of Labor (DOL) during the Obama Administration. The rule, which was originally scheduled to go into effect last December, was designed to extend overtime pay eligibility for over 4 million workers, lifted the overtime salary exemption threshold from $455 per week to $913 per week. Any exemptions to this law are based on both workers’ salaries and job duties, but the new rule was enacted based primarily on the salary threshold without changes to the job duties qualifications.
However, this change to the FLSA was viewed unfavorably by some business groups (including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and numerous Republican politicians), and a total of 55 plaintiffs joined forces in a lawsuit against the new rule. These plaintiffs argued that the DOL has exceeded its authority by basing the change primarily on salary rather than the job duties performed by the workers, and a district court put the rule on hold last November.
Though the Department of Labor appealed the motion, Judge Amos Mazzant ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and the rule was struck down. At this time, the DOL (now headed by the Trump Administration) has not yet announced any further proposed alterations to the FLSA, though they have reached out to the business community to request their input.