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5th Circuit to hear expedited overtime appeal

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to an Obama administration request to fast-track an appeal of a federal judge’s injunction preventing new overtime rules from taking effect.  

The Department of Labor asked for expedited briefings to be completed by Feb. 7, 2017. However on Dec. 8, appeals court Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod ordered proceedings to wrap up a week earlier, by Jan. 31.

Regardless, the schedule means the DOL will not present its final briefs and make oral arguments until after President-elect Trump takes office on Jan. 20. It is unknown whether the Trump administration’s Labor Department, to be led by Andrew Puzder—who opposes the new overtime rules—will decide to pursue the case at that point.

The Senate probably won’t have had time to confirm Puzder by Jan. 31, but by then President Trump could still order the DOL’s lawyers to drop the appeal.

The rules, which call for more than doubling the overtime salary threshold to $47,476, were to have taken effect Dec. 1. More than 4.2 million workers would have become newly eligible for overtime. (Read background on the overtime rules at www.theHRSpecialist.com/overtime.)

However on Nov. 22, Judge Amos Mazzant of the federal District Court for Eastern Texas issued a preliminary injunction putting them on hold. The ruling came in response to two lawsuits claiming the DOL overstepped its authority when it raised the salary threshold without adjusting the duties test that also determines who qualifies for overtime pay.

The 5th Circuit’s grant of expedited appeal called for the DOL to file opening briefs by Dec. 16. The 21 state attorneys general and a coalition of business groups suing to stop the rules have until Jan. 17 to file their responses. Trump takes office three days later.

Oral arguments will take place on the first available date after all briefs have been submitted.

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