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Political landscpare for wage and hour disputes may be brewing

For anyone who might have doubted whether wage and hour laws are getting more complex, a recent judicial decision adds fire to the mix. Specifically, a federal judge in Texas recently issued a preliminary injunction against an Obama administration regulation regarding time-and-a-half overpay.

The proposed regulation, scheduled to go into effect on December 1st, would have raised the salary limit for overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476. However, the federal judge ruled that the Obama administration had exceeded its authority with the regulation. Consequently, the preliminary injunction has halted the regulation.

An injunction, by definition, is a temporary measure. It stays in effect until a court can issue a more final ruling. With the upcoming new presidential administration, however, the political climate for the regulation may be unfavorable. In addition, the instant case arose from a 21-state coalition that filed a lawsuit to oppose the regulation.

In anticipation of the regulation, some employers independently raised the pay of their employers above the $47,476 limit, in an apparent effort to avoid paying overtime. If a final ruling blocks the regulation, it remains to be seen whether these employers will impose pay cuts.

Given the uncertain political and regulatory climate, our Wisconsin employment law firm urges employers to consult with an attorney for compliance advice and guidance. From wage and overtime disputes to the misclassification of exempt and nonexempt employees, our attorneys have experience helping employers in a broad range of employment disputes. We have even represented clients in class action lawsuits under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Source: The New York Times, “Judge Suspends Rule Expanding Overtime for Millions of Workers,” Noam Scheiber, Nov. 22, 2016

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