Court Battles

Administration will appeal court order blocking overtime rule

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The Obama administration is appealing a Texas judge’s decision to temporarily block a contentious overtime rule from taking effect.

{mosads}The Justice Department — on behalf of the Department of Labor — filed a notice of appeal Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

Texas District Judge Amos Mazzant issued a temporary injunction last month to stop the rule from taking effect Dec. 1. It would have forced employers to pay overtime to most salaried workers earning less than $47,476 annually. The salary cutoff for overtime pay now stands at $23,660.

Mazzant, who was nominated to the court by President Obama, said the preliminary injunction was needed while the rule is being challenged in court. Dozens of businesses and 21 state attorneys general are fighting it.

In a statement following the court order earlier this month, the Department of Labor stood behind its rule.

“We strongly disagree with the decision by the court, which has the effect of delaying a fair day’s pay for a long day’s work for millions of hardworking Americans,” the agency said.

“The department’s overtime rule is the result of a comprehensive, inclusive rulemaking process, and we remain confident in the legality of all aspects of the rule.”

The Competitive Enterprise Institute criticized the administration for pushing what it says is a harmful rule.

“The injunction against the overtime rule is the third time in about a month that the courts have struck down DOL regulations,” Trey Kovacs, the group’s labor policy expert, said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, the overzealous regulators at the DOL have not gotten the message sent by the courts. It is time for the Obama administration to pass the torch and to cease forcing burdensome red tape on job creators.”

Texas federal judges have temporarily blocked the agency’s “blacklisting” rule and its “union persuader” rule. 

Proponents of the overtime rule, however, thanked the administration for moving so quickly with an appeal.

“For millions of working- and middle-class Americans, the updated overtime rule would mean more money for their long hours worked, or more time to spend with their families,” Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, said in a statement.

“We urge the court to decide this matter quickly so that these workers and their employers will all have the certainty of a valid regulation.”

– Updated at 3:02 p.m.

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