On November 22, 2016, a federal judge in Texas temporarily halted a U.S. Department of Labor rule that extends overtime pay to roughly 4.2 million workers across the country. Therule, which was slated to take effect on December 1, updated the standard salary level requiring certain workers making $47,476 and below to receive overtime pay for working extra hours. In hisruling, U.S. District Court Judge Amos L. Mazzant III said the preliminary injunction preserves the status quo past the December 1 deadline while he takes the time to hear the case and determines the validity of the rule, which was finalized in May 2016.
Prior to the recent court ruling, many employers across the country had changed or made plans to change the way they pay workers to meet the rule’s requirements. With this new legal development, it is unclear how employers, including landscape architecture firms should proceed. Judge Mazzant’s ruling only temporarily halts the Labor Department’s rule nationwide, and reversing it could take more than a year. The U.S. Department of Labor has reported that it strongly disagrees with the decision by the court, and is considering all legal options.
Landscape architecture firms should continue to work with human resources professionals and legal counsels to remain compliant with any rules to address overtime pay. Also, the U.S. Department of Labor continues to monitor the recent legal rulings and update the public on its website.