House Hearing Previews Legal Fight Over DOL Overtime Rule

June 14, 2019

A House Workforce Protections Subcommittee hearing on the Department of Labor’s proposed rule on overtime exemptions signaled any final rule will face significant political and legal hurdles before employers and employees have any certainty regarding its outcome.

The proposed rule would increase the minimum salary level test for the executive, administrative, and professional exemption under the FLSA from $23,660 per year to $34,308 and allow nondiscretionary bonuses to count toward a portion of the salary level test.

Hearing witnesses criticized DOL for “prioritizing the interests of corporate executives over those of working people and leaving working people behind.”

House and Senate Democrats reintroduced the Restoring Overtime Pay Act, which would codify the Obama-era final rule that raised the salary level test to about $47,000 but was struck down by the courts.

A group of 15 Democratic state attorneys general may also challenge the final rule on the grounds that DOL has not adequately justified the policy reasons for abandoning the Obama-era proposal.

Possible appropriation riders:  Separately, Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) proposed an amendment to the House DOL appropriations bill that would prevent the Department from implementing the proposed or final rule.

Outlook:  A final overtime rule is expected later this year and it will likely be challenged in court as have many other Trump Administration rules.  Although the House could pass some measure attempting to block the rule or reinstate the Obama-era rule, the Senate is unlikely to consider either measure.