Editorial: Federal judge dismisses overtime rule change

A Texas federal court judge has struck down a rule change by Obama’s Labor Department that would have cost employers $1.2 billion a year by requiring overtime for an additional 4.2 million workers — or in reality, however many workers actually still had jobs after the costs were imposed.

The legal challenge was spearheaded by Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt on behalf of 21 states and a number of business entities.

The overtime rule change would have increased the minimum salary level for employees exempt from overtime — due to being engaged in executive, administrative or professional duties, so-called EAP workers — from $23,660 a year to $47,476.

U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant of Sherman, Texas, this past week ruled the salary qualification increase violated the clear intent of Congress when it passed the Fair Labor and Practices Act in 1938, which established minimum wages and required time-and-a-half overtime pay for hourly workers who work more than 40 hours a week. EAP employees were exempted from overtime requirements.

Judge Mazzant wrote, “This is not what Congress intended with the EAP exemption. Congress unambiguously directed the Department to exempt from overtime pay employees who perform ‘bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity’ duties. However, the Department creates a Final Rule that makes overtime status depend predominately on a minimum salary level, thereby supplanting an analysis of an employee’s job duties.”

He said nothing in the law allows the Labor Department to make salary rather than an employee’s duties determinative of whether an employee should be exempt from overtime pay.

“I applaud Judge Mazzant’s decision to permanently invalidate this Obama-era overtime rule that would have imposed millions of dollars of unfunded liabilities on the States and resulted in a loss of private sector jobs as well as onerous financial and regulatory burdens on small businesses in Nevada and around the country,” said Laxalt in a press release. “My office is proud to have led the charge towards a final ruling that brings clarity, certainty and closure to the business community and government alike.”

Additionally, Nevada’s senior Sen. Dean Heller, who has been challenging the overtime rule since it was proposed, put out a press release stating, “The former Obama Administration’s expansion of the federal overtime rule would have devastated Nevada’s business owners and job creators. Since the rule was issued last year, I have been strongly concerned about its impact because it would fundamentally change how employers compensate their workers, reducing Nevadans’ work hours and benefits. I’m pleased to see that a federal judge acknowledged the regulation’s harmful consequences and ruled it invalid today.”

Heller also commended Laxalt for leading the fight against the overtime rule change.

In addition to Nevada, the other states challenging the overtime rules were Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin. Missouri, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming filed friend of the court briefs backing the challenge.

In June, Trump’s Labor Department announced that it too wants salary level to count in deciding who is eligible for overtime pay, but it did not endorse the Obama administration’s salary level. The Labor secretary should heed Mazzant’s reasoning and the clear language of the law as it is currently written. If any changes are contemplated, they must be voted on by Congress.

This effort on behalf of Nevada’s state and local government employers, as well as countless businesses was well worth the time, effort and expense to save jobs and businesses.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

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9 comments on “Editorial: Federal judge dismisses overtime rule change

  1. deleted says:

    Nevada’s “own” bastard is pleased that companies are now going to classify their lowest level employees, who receive the lowest levels of pay, and the lowest level of benefits (people the minimum wage laws regarding overtime were intended to protect) can be exploited once again because employers will claim that they are “decision makers”.

    Decisions like when to open the cash register, or when to allow customers in the door, or when to turn the air conditioner up or down, or when to turn the gas pump on. All these “managerial” decisions a 7-11 clerk makes each day. Definitely don’t worry about whether their salary is really indicative of their level of responsibility; who would ever base a salary on that after all?

    Dumb bastard.

  2. Where in the Constitution is the enumerated power that allows Congress to tell employers how much they must pay employees?

  3. Steve says:

    According to “deleted” jobs are like a participation trophy.
    Once you get a job you are to be paid a “living wage” as determined by circumstances that will keep you on the edge for the rest of your “participation” years!

  4. Deleted says:

    Commerce clause

  5. The Congress shall have power to …

    To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes …

  6. Deleted says:

    Even Nevadans “own” bastard knew enough, or should I say “had smarter people than him” (which is pretty much anyone) that he would lose an argument under the Commerce Clause.

    And of course the stupid judge knew enough not to base a ruling on the Commerce Clause, because the long history of decision relating to that clause means he would have lost.

  7. Rincon says:

    There are two separate arguments, the legal one and the ethical one. If the ethical one is overpowering, then the Constitution should be amended, but getting 2/3 of us or our representatives to agree on anything is nearly impossible. This is due to inherent weakness of the human mind and is only rarely overcome. This type of regulation is impractical at the state level because competition among states would likely prevent most or all from adopting it due to fear of an employer exodus.

    The ethical argument is that employers should not be allowed to make working extreme hours a job requirement for the vast majority of employees. In the past, employers have shown that they did not hesitate to do so. The overtime requirement is one reasonable way to ameliorate this tendency while allowing employers to utilize long hours when the need is great. It seems more reasonable to me though, to perhaps require time and a quarter pay from 40 to 50 hours a week and then time and a half after that point. It’s ridiculous to require an employer to pay time and a half for working someone only a few hours beyond the standard work week.

  8. Steve says:

    “The overtime requirement is one reasonable way to ameliorate this tendency while allowing employers to utilize long hours when the need is great.”

    RAWNG.

    All they do is factor OT right into every contract they negotiate with their customers. then they make the employees thing OT is bad but when it is demanded, they pay! With no complaints at all.

    I experienced this at Checkpoint Systems, most unorganized company ever. They would tell you to do an overnight and at 5am they would call you and try to get you to do more that very day.

    You are so blind.

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