The injunction blocking new Department of Laborfrom going into effect caught most employers off guard. Employment law attorneys urged caution: It’s too soon to walk back pay and classification changes that were in the works before Judge Amos Mazzant ruled. Here’s a sampling of advice:
Remember, it’s preliminary
“While employers should not assume that the new regulations will never be implemented, at this point compliance obligations are on hold and implementation of the rules as issued by the DOL is uncertain.”—Dorrie Larison, Gray Plant Mooty, Minneapolis
Don’t yank out the rug yet
“From an employee morale perspective, it could be very difficult for employers that have announced a raise to renege on that promise. Employers that have already advised employees that their salaries will change and that plan to rescind those changes as a result of the preliminary injunction should consult with legal counsel.”—Christopher Moran, Pepper Hamilton, Philadelphia
“Because taking away proposed salary increases may lead toissues, employers may prefer to adjust by slowing future increases or reversing the changes over a set period of time. For employees recently converted to nonexempt status, employers may want to ask the employees whether they prefer to be converted back to exempt, with a guaranteed salary and no requirement to punch a time clock, or continue to be eligible for overtime pay as a nonexempt employee.”—Maury Baskin, Littler Mendelson, Washington, D.C.
What might happen next
“One alternative would be to take no further action until a final decision is reached in the courts, or to see what Congress and/or the incoming administration do (if anything). ... Even many who oppose the current changes see the question as being by how much and how quickly the threshold should increase.”—Caroline Brown, Fisher Phillips, Atlanta
“Although this is only a preliminary injunction that prevents the implementation of the regulations until a final determination is made, this could very well be a permanent end to the regulations.”—Subhash Viswanathan, Bond Schoeneck & King, Syracuse, N.Y.
“The DOL and the Obama administration are sure to challenge this ruling, but they will be racing against the clock as the Trump administration ... is set to take over in January. Many Republicans in Congress have been vocal about their opposition to this rule. Needless to say, the future and viability of the new rule is very much uncertain.”—Robert Bowes and Alex Jones, Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, Cleveland