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On May 18, 2016, President Obama and Secretary Perez announced the publication of the Department of Labor’s final rule updating the overtime regulations, which will automatically extend overtime pay protections to over 4 million workers within the first year of implementation.

As employers have been scrambling to review job descriptions and salaries before the December 1, 2016 deadline, a US Court judge puts the Department of Labor’s rules on hold. A group of states filed a lawsuit stating that the Department of labor’s OT rule overstepped the government’s authority.

So, where does that leave employers today? Employers must weigh various business and legal risks in deciding whether to comply with the now enjoined overtime regulations. There is a legal risk that if the regulations are later upheld, they may be enforced retroactively. In that event, employers may be liable for overtime payments to employees who were classified as exempt under the current regulations but who are not exempt under the new regulations, plus potential attorneys’ fees. In the event of such a litigation attempting retroactive enforcement of the overtime rule, employers will have difficulty defending against claims if they do not have accurate records of the hours worked by employees. So, an employer that decides to hold off on complying with the new regulations may want to keep accurate records of the hours worked by any employee who is now considered exempt but could be considered non-exempt under the new regulations.

Of course, any appeal of this judge’s ruling will fall to the new Trump administration, which may not be as motivated to enforce these Obama administration regulations. That remains to be seen. In the meantime, employers will have to decide whether to put their compliance plans on hold in light of the ruling.

As employers have been scrambling to review job descriptions and salaries before the December 1, 2016 deadline, a US Court judge puts the Department of Labor’s rules on hold. A group of states filed a lawsuit stating that the Department of labor’s OT rule overstepped the government’s authority.

So, where does that leave employers today? Employers must weigh various business and legal risks in deciding whether to comply with the now enjoined overtime regulations. There is a legal risk that if the regulations are later upheld, they may be enforced retroactively. In that event, employers may be liable for overtime payments to employees who were classified as exempt under the current regulations but who are not exempt under the new regulations, plus potential attorneys’ fees. In the event of such a litigation attempting retroactive enf

orcement of the overtime rule, employers will have difficulty defending against claims if they do not have accurate records of the hours worked by employees. So, an employer that decides to hold off on complying with the new regulations may want to keep accurate records of the hours worked by any employee who is now considered exempt but could be considered non-exempt under the new regulations.

Of course, any appeal of this judge’s ruling will fall to the new Trump administration, which may not be as motivated to enforce these Obama administration regulations. That remains to be seen. In the meantime, employers will have to decide whether to put their compliance plans on hold in light of the ruling.

Lisa Ingle
HR Manager