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Labor Department to Withdraw Overtime Appeal

As a result of the August 31 ruling by a federal district court judge invalidating highly controversial proposed revisions to federal overtime regulations, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), now has filed a motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit stating that it is dismissing the appeal of the preliminary injunction ruling issued by the same federal court judge earlier in the litigation.

In an extremely short, unopposed motion filed on September 5, 2017, the DOL asked the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to have the appeal of the injunction voluntarily dismissed as moot based on last week’s summary judgment decision invalidating the proposed regulations.

The regulatory revisions, which were promulgated by the DOL during the Obama administration, would have more than doubled the minimum salary requirement for the major white-collar exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) from $455 per week to $913 per week. Annualized, that would have been an increase in the salary threshold from $23,660 per year to $47,476 per year.

The regulatory changes had been scheduled to go into effect on December 1, 2016. However, Judge Amos L. Mazzant III, a federal judge for the Eastern District of Texas, issued a temporary injunction blocking their implementation just before Thanksgiving.  The DOL filed an interlocutory appeal with the Fifth Circuit in December, which was prior to the Trump administration taking office. The appeal has remained pending since that time, and an oral argument had been scheduled for October 3, 2017.

On August 31, 2017, Judge Mazzant granted summary judgment to the business plaintiffs in the litigation, holding that the updated salary test in the final rule was inconsistent with congressional intent. Summary judgment is a final decision on the merits and, according to the DOL’s motion for voluntary dismissal, makes the appeal moot.

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About this Author

Steven F. Pockrass, Ogletree Deakins, Employment Solutions Lawyer, Wage Related Issues Attorney

Steven (“Steve”) Pockrass is Co-Chair of the firm’s Wage and Hour Practice Group. In this position, he helps clients and attorneys throughout the firm deliver proactive and responsive solutions to federal and state wage-hour questions and concerns.  Steve coordinates wage-hour resources within the firm and works on a variety of wage-related issues, ranging from evaluating whether certain job positions are properly classified to defending collective and class actions.  In addition to focusing on the complexities and nuances of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, he...