New overtime rule put on hold by judge

A judge from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas placed a hold on a new overtime rule that was set to take effect on Dec. 1. For now, the current exempt salary cutoff imposed by the Fair Labor Standards Act will remain in place. The fate of the rule change may rest on the final decision of the judge who put the freeze in place.

It may also hinge on whether the Department of Labor decides to appeal and what action the new president may choose to take on the issue. At the moment, businesses do not need to adhere to the new rule, but business realities may force them to take action anyway. The current exempt limit threshold is $23,660 and would be raised to $47,476 if the new rule is allowed to take effect.

Businesses would then either need to classify exempt employees below the new threshold as nonexempt or raise their salaries above this level. Companies that have already made either of these changes in anticipation of the rule change do not need to rescind them. Even if companies reverse their decisions, they cannot take action to recoup wages already paid to employees. Therefore, reverting back to old salary structures could cost more in terms of lost morale and administrative costs.

Any employee who feels as if he or she has had wages withheld or was denied overtime pay illegally may wish to talk with an attorney. A lawyer might be able to review the case and take steps to help a worker obtain compensation. Compensation may come in the form of back pay plus interest in some cases. Workers who were terminated because they made wage complaints may also be entitled to reinstatement to their old positions.

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