Texas judge blocks Obama’s overtime rule
By Evan Lips | November 29, 2016, 16:22 EST
Describing the President Barack Obama’s overtime rule, originally set to kick in on Thursday, as an “automatic updating mechanism ripe for review,” an east Texas federal court judge recently blocked the rule’s implementation, effectively granting businesses a reprieve from having to pay overtime to salaried workers.
In siding with 21 states and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Sherman, Texas, U.S. District Court Judge Amos Mazzant last week granted a nationwide injunction, effectively halting a Labor Department rule that would have raised the annual floor salary of overtime-eligible employees from $23,600 to $47,892.
Mazzant’s ruling conflicts with Obama’s justification for backing the rule. The outgoing president had claimed that “regulations regarding . . . overtime requirements . . . for executive, administrative, and professional employees . . . have not kept up with our modern economy.”
While Obama’s opinion may be defensible, Mazzant determined his administration’s “final rule” to be “unlawful.”
“The court concludes the (Labor) Department also lacks the authority to implement the automatic updating mechanism,” Mazzant added. “A nationwide injunction is proper in this case…consequently, the scope of the alleged irreparable injury extends nationwide.”
Mazzant was appointed to preside over the Eastern District of Texas Court in 2014 by Obama, the same year his administration issued a directive to the Labor Department to update and modernize overtime regulations.
The Labor Department had projected that the rule, once in effect, would affect more than 4.2 million workers.
The Labor Department issued a statement disagreeing with Mazzant’s decision, which it labeled as “delaying a fair day’s pay for a long day’s work for millions of hardworking Americans.”
“The Department’s Overtime Final Rule is the result of a comprehensive, inclusive rule-making process, and we remain confident in the legality of all aspects of the rule,” the statement added. “We are currently considering all of our legal options.”
Read Mazzant’s order: