Federal court blocks new DOL overtime rule

Tank truck carriers, as well as the business community in general, gained a welcome reprieve on November 22 when a US District Court in Texas granted a preliminary injunction against the new Fair labor Standards Act overtime rule. The rule was to have taken effect on December 1.

“This was something to be truly thankful for during this holiday season,” says Boyd Stephenson, senior vice-president of government affairs for National Tank Truck Carriers. “The plaintiffs in this case included 21 states as well as various public and private organizations. The plaintiffs were able to show irreparable harm if the rule went into effect. The preliminary injunction likely will stay in effect until the legality of the rule can be determined.”  

The overtime rule increased the exemption threshold for exempt employees to $47,476--more than doubling the current threshold. This preliminary injunction is seen as a victory for the business community across the nation--who were very concerned the rule would negatively affect operations.

President-Elect Trump had previously stated that he supported exceptions to the threshold requirement for small businesses.  Therefore, it is possible that the Department of Labor may reconsider this rule, according to Stephenson.

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear said: “We are pleased that Judge Mazzant has enjoined the Department of Labor’s new overtime rule, which set an arbitrarily high salary threshold for employees covered by the ‘white collar’ exemption to the overtime requirements of federal law.

“By doubling the threshold from its current level of $23,660 to $47,476 as of December 1, the rule would have forced millions of salaried professionals to be treated like hourly employees. In the trucking industry, the rule change would have affected countless salaried dispatchers and other managers who need the flexibility to work as the need arises, in response to unpredictable operational demands. At the same time, it would have forced the carriers they work for to begin micromanaging their time.”

“When Congress established the white-collar exemption, it was clear that it wanted the exemption to depend on the nature of an employee’s duties, not an arbitrary salary level, and today’s decision vindicates Congress’s instruction.”

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