Municipal Government, National

Texas Judge Wrongly Takes Away Overtime From Millions of Workers

November 26, 2016 
By Kelly Ross
Reprinted: aflcio.org

Dallas, TX – Texas Judge Wrongly Takes Away Overtime From Millions of Workers In a shocking and wrongly-decided opinion, a U.S. district court judge in the Eastern District of Texas has taken away overtime protection from millions of American workers.

Judge Amos Mazzant issued an injunction to stop the Barack Obama administration’s update of federal overtime eligibility rules, which was scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2016.

The updated rule is designed to restore overtime protections for an estimated 4.2 million workers, while making it harder for employers to deny overtime to another 8.9 million workers who are already overtime-eligible.

Equally shocking was Mazzant’s reasoning. He argued that the Labor Department does not have legal authority to set a minimum salary threshold below which workers are guaranteed overtime protection. The administration’s new rules would raise the overtime salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476.

This is an extreme decision that ignores 78 years of precedent. The Labor Department has been exercising its authority to apply a minimum salary threshold since 1938. It has increased the threshold seven times, most recently in 2004 under President George W. Bush. Congress has amended the overtime law several times and never objected to the minimum salary threshold, and no court had previously ruled that the salary threshold violated congressional intent.

November 26, 2016

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