HR, Legal Experts Express Mixed Reactions After Judge Blocks Overtime Rule

By Andrew Peeling Nov 23, 2016
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Many HR professionals and legal experts were surprised Tuesday by a preliminary injunction that halts the Dec. 1, 2016, implementation deadline of the Department of Labor's (DOL) new overtime rule.

Texas Judge Amos Mazzant issued an emergency injunction just 10 days before employers were required to come into compliance with the new overtime rule that would have doubled the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA’s) salary threshold for exemption from overtime pay. 

The Department of Labor expressed disappoint with the ruling, releasing a statement saying, "We strongly disagree with the decision by the court, which has the effect of delaying a fair day's pay for a long day's work for millions of hardworking Americans. The department's overtime rule is the result of a comprehensive, inclusive rulemaking process, and we remain confident in the legality of all aspects of the rule. We are currently considering all of our legal options."

Litigants React:

Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge argued the case before Judge Amos Mazzant of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Both expressed their approval on Twitter of the judge's preliminary injunction.

Overtime Injunction Is Met With Mixed Reactions:

SHRM Senior Government Affairs Policy Counsel Nancy Hammer said the injunction is good news for employers who have been struggling to manage the impact of the rule changes.

"The court's decision is welcome news for SHRM members and employers who have been struggling with the impacts of the rule—especially nonprofits and smaller organizations. SHRM’s members and our Advocacy Team played a key role in highlighting the difficulties of the rule and raising awareness of its negative impacts on the workplace including its impact on workplace flexibility and employee morale," Hammer said.

Meanwhile, social media was filled with mixed reactions to the decision, with some expressing approval of the ruling and others, disappointment.

HR Professionals' Work Left In Limbo:

Many HR professionals vocalized their frustration with the late hour of the injunction after they had already implemented or worked hard to prepare sweeping changes at their organizations in order to come into compliance with the new overtime rule. Several were left wondering what to do now.

For now, the overtime rule will not take effect as planned Dec. 1, but it could still be implemented later down the road. Employers may continue to follow the existing overtime regulations until a decision is reached.

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