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OUR INSIGHTS
Breaking News: Federal Judge Hears Overtime
Challenge and Promises to Rule Soon
Authors: Margaret Carroll Alli (Detroit Metro), Angela D. Green (Dallas)
Published Date: November 16, 2016
Revised overtime regulations are still scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2016, but an effort to
halt them remains alive. Judge Amos L. Mazzant III, a federal judge for the Eastern District of Texas,
held a hearing today on a preliminary injunction motion seeking to stop the revised regulations from
taking effect nationwide. After vigorous argument on both sides, Judge Mazzant stated at the end of
today’s hearing that he is taking the matter under advisement and intends to rule on the preliminary
injunction motion by this coming Tuesday, November 22, 2016.
Background
On September 20, 2016, 21 states filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and its
Wage and Hour Division (including three officials of those agencies) challenging the overtime
regulations. A few weeks later, the states filed an emergency motion seeking an injunction to halt or
delay the implementation of the new overtime regulations. Meanwhile, on October 19, 2016, another
lawsuit—this one brought by numerous chambers of commerce and business groups also aimed at
preventing the implementation of the new regulations—was consolidated with the states’ case before
the same federal judge in Texas. Before the suits were consolidated, the plaintiffs in the second suit had
asked the court to consider a motion for summary judgment to halt the new regulations on an expedited
basis. After the cases were consolidated, these plaintiffs also joined in the states’ request for a
preliminary injunction. The court has not yet ruled on the motion for summary judgment or the motion
for a preliminary injunction.
The Hearing
Today’s hearing before Judge Mazzant was only related to the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary
injunction enjoining the implementation of the new overtime regulations. After hearing hours of
arguments from the states, the business groups, and the DOL, Judge Mazzant took the matter under
advisement and stated that he intends to rule by Tuesday, November 22. While it is not clear how he
will rule, during the hearing Judge Mazzant questioned the DOL at great length regarding its arguments
for increasing the salary test, at points describing the increase in the salary required under the new rule
as “radical” and “drastic.”
Practical Impact
As we wait for Judge Mazzant’s ruling next week, the new regulation—which will more than double the
current minimum salary threshold for the overtime exemptions—is still set to go into effect on December
1, 2016.
Employers should note that even a last-minute injunction putting a halt to the new rule does not
necessarily mean that the new rule will be gone forever. The injunction, if granted, may simply halt it
from becoming effective on December 1. Still, a preliminary injunction would be a serious blow to the
U.S. Department of Labor’s effort to dramatically expand overtime pay across-the-board in one fell
swoop. Stay tuned.
Margaret Carroll Alli (Detroit Metro)
Meg Alli has focused her practice on the representation and counseling of
management concerning the umbrella of employment laws and regulations
affecting corporate clients, not-for-profit organizations and educational
institutions. She has defended employers, schools and colleges in state and
federal courts, administrative agencies and arbitration proceedings. Meg has also
served as select counsel for employment practices liability insurance carriers and
represented employers in wage/hour...
Angela D. Green (Dallas)
Ms. Green is Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Labor
and Employment Law. Ms. Green has extensive experience representing and
advising management in labor and employment matters. She frequently defends
employers facing discrimination, harassment, and other employment-related
claims in federal and state court and before administrative agencies. Ms. Green
spends a considerable portion of her practice representing employers in wage and
hour collective actions. Her work...
© 2016, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

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