A federal judge in Texas has held that the Department of Labor exceeded its authority by substantially raising the minimum salary threshold required for employees under the "white collar" exemptions. In May 2016, the DOL issued regulations that would have more than doubled the minimum annual salary threshold for the Fair Labor Standard Act's "white collar" executive, administrative and professional exemptions, from $455 per week ($23,660 annually) to $913 per week ($47,476 annually).
We have continued to follow the litigation and political maneuvering surrounding last year's proposed wage and hour regulations. Those regulations, which would have increased the threshold requirement for most salary exempt positions from $455 to $913 per week, were temporarily halted nationwide last November by a federal judge in Texas. Since that time, the case has been appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, while political wrangling over the regulations has continued. Recently, President Trump's initial pick for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination and was replaced by Alexander Acosta, the dean of Florida International Law School.
In our blog entry dated November 23, 2016, Coolidge Wall announced that a federal judge in Texas had issued an injunction halting the Department of Labor's new wage and hour regulations from being implemented on December 1, 2016, as anticipated. These amended regulations purported to increase the threshold salary requirement for most exempt positions from $455 to $913 per week, which would have impacted more than an estimated four million workers throughout the country. Many employers were poised to implement changes in compliance with the amendments, and others had already implemented such changes in advance of the effective date.
On May 18, 2016, the Department of Labor announced new rules which will govern compensation for every employer in the country which is covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. With a few exceptions, this includes any employer which has gross revenue of $500,000 or more.
On September 15, the U.S. Department of Labor announced its award of $10.2 million in grants to 19 states to aid in their worker misclassification detection and enforcement efforts in unemployment insurance programs. Ohio is not a grant recipient, but our next door neighbor, Indiana, is receiving a hefty sum of $500,000.