For U.S. employers looking for something to be thankful for this season, we offer several recent defense-friendly wage and hour developments. Kicking off the season is the nationwide preliminary injunction preventing the Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing new overtime rules, the court reasoning that Congress never authorized the DOL to drastically raise the overtime salary threshold. You may recall that in May 2016 the DOL announced its plan to double the minimum salary threshold for white-collar overtime pay exemptions, affecting around four million U.S. employees. See Global Matters blog Are Your U.S. Employees Exempt Under The New FLSA Rule? on this issue. Twenty-one states and various business coalitions sued the agency, claiming that the DOL overstepped its authority; one of the suits proved successful. While the DOL may challenge the ruling, it could take months before the case reaches the appeals court.
Next on the list: last March, the DOL unveiled the controversial “Persuader Rule,” which amended the Labor Management and Reporting Disclosure Act by requiring employers to disclose all agreements with outside consultants, or “persuaders,” hired to dissuade employees from union organizational activity. See Global Matters blog New US Labor Organizing “Persuader Rule” Faces Opposition describing the pushback to that rule. For several reasons, including that “persuader” activity covers all advice and counseling and thus the Rule arguably chilled free speech and intruded on attorney-client privilege, a federal district court entered first a nationwide preliminary injunction, followed by a permanent rule declaring the rule unlawful.
Finally, the U.S. Supreme Court has held unenforceable a Spring 2015 federal appellate court decision that auto service advisors are entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Supreme Court held the decision was based on a procedurally defective DOL rule, and remanded the case to the appellate court for reconsideration. Arguably the Supreme Court has now set precedent for questioning whether other DOL regulations are arbitrary and capricious.
For up-to-date information on employment and labor laws applying to your business – wherever it is located – contact your Ally Law member firm. Employment, wage, and labor laws are in constant flux and your Ally Law member firm lawyer can advise you on how to stay current and avoid litigation and/or government penalties. For more information about Ally Law member firm services and outstanding lawyers, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.