Monthly Archives: November 2016

NEWS ALERT: JUDGE STRIKES DOWN NEW OVERTIME RULE AS UNLAWFUL

Yesterday, in a shocking decision, and a stern rebuke to the Obama administration, a United States federal court judge in Texas struck down the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new overtime rule that was set to go into effect on December 1.

This brief HR Law Insider article explains all you need to know about the judge’s decision and its huge impact on businesses throughout the nation.

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OVER 20 STATES SUED THE DOL TO KILL THE NEW OVERTIME RULE

The DOL’s much ballyhooed regulation that was to raise the salary limit below which workers automatically qualified for overtime pay to $47,476 from $23,660 was set to go into full force and effect on December 1.

However, months ago over 20 states sued the DOL arguing, among other things, that the DOL exceeded its authority in enacting the new regulations.  The states contended that Congress’ law — the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) — could not be changed by a fiat of the DOL.  In other words, the states contended that the Obama administration’s DOL exceeded its authority.

THE NEW OVERTIME LAW IS DEAD — FOR NOW

Judge Amos L. Mazzant III of the Eastern District of Texas ruled that the DOL has indeed exceeded its authority by raising the overtime salary limit.  The judge promptly enjoined (i.e. stopped) the DOL rule from going forward not only in Texas, but nationwide.

Understand, the court’s injunction is a temporary ruling that stops the regulation until the judge can issue a final ruling on the merits.  However, the handwriting is on the wall: the judge is highly likely to strike down the regulation when he issues his final ruling.

Until further notice, the rule increasing the minimum salary threshold of exempt workers to $47,476 from $23,660 is dead.  Businesses need not pay exempt workers more than $23,660 to comply with the FLSA.

Judge Mozzant’s ruling is clearly the first shot across the bow in a changing business landscape.  Expect more such pro-business directives from the incoming Trump administration.  These will inevitably be met with fierce resistance from pro-labor groups.

As the battle rages on, HR Law Insider will be here to provide cutting edge information and commentary to guide businesses, managers, and HR professionals.

For further information on these or other employment, business, and HR matters, contact Art Bourque at Bourque Law Firm.

 

ELECTION 2016: ARIZONA ADOPTS NEW WORKPLACE LAWS AND PRESIDENT TRUMP IS COMING TO YOUR WORKPLACE

President Elect Donald Trump won in a shocker last night.  So too did Arizona employees:  Proposition 206, known as the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Initiative, passed comfortably at 59% to 41%.

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PROPOSITION 206

Here is an overview of the new law:

Starting on January 1, 2017, Arizona’s minimum wage will increase  to $10, then $10.50 in 2018, $11 in 2019, and $12 in 2020.  In 2021, the minimum wage will be adjusted each year based on the cost of living.

In dollars and cents, a current full-time minimum wage worker makes $16,744 per year. However, by 2020, such workers will make $24,960 per year.

For restaurants and similar businesses, tipping laws in Arizona will remain the same:  employers may pay employees $3 less than minimum wage if they are earning as much, or more than, minimum wage with tips.

The new law also entitles certain employees to paid sick time. Employers with more than 15 employees must provide each worker with 24 hours of paid sick time per year. If a business has more than 15 employees, 40 hours is required.

Sick time is available to employees who have a physical or mental illness, must care for a family member, experience a public-health emergency, or take a leave of absence because of domestic or sexual violence and/or stalking.

DONALD TRUMP AND YOUR WORKPLACE

President Trump will likely have wide-ranging effects on workplace laws and, equally important, how those laws are enforced.  From Executive Orders, to selecting Supreme Court Justices that interpret workplace laws, to appointing agency heads who apply those laws (e.g. head of the Department of Labor),  a President can greatly impact employers and their workers.

In the coming weeks and months, as President-Elect Trump’s cabinet selections and other appointees come into focus, HR Law Insider  and attorney Art Bourque will be right there to help businesses understand the real world climate in which they are operating.

Today, however, is for many a day for celebration or mourning.   To assist on that joyful or seemingly perilous journey, here are two songs about change, the first for the “winners” and the second for those wondering what happened.