Federal Court Injunction on Proposed Overtime Rules

HR Bulletin   Updated December 1, 2016


A federal judge in Texas  issued an injunction late this afternoon that blocks the implementation of the Department of Labor’s new federal overtime rules.  “A preliminary injunction preserves the status quo while the court determines the department’s authority to make the final rule as well as the final rule’s validity.” said Judge Amos Mazzant of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.  Judge Mazzant was appointed to the bench by President Obama.

The emergency motion for a preliminary injunction was filed in October by 21 states, and consolidated with another lawsuit filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  The suits claimed that the DOL exceeded its authority by raising the salary threshold too high and by providing for automatic adjustments to the threshold every three years.

What does this mean to each of you as business owners?  I think we just have to take a deep breath and see what evolves from this ruling. Obviously it puts the December 1 implementation on hold.   The Department of Labor announced today (12/1/16) that they are appealing this motion, so expect a long, drawn out process.  In the meantime, continue to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act and the current rules for overtime. The December 1 proposed changes are now on hold until the court’s rule otherwise.   More information will be forthcoming in the near term and we will keep you informed as we learn more.

Update: It is likely that no court action will take place before the new administration is sworn in on Friday, January 20.  Our best guess is the current proposed revisions will be discarded and a phased in approach to the salary test for Exempt and Nonexempt employees will evolve over the first six months of the new administration.  1/15/17



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Happy Employees in an Unhappy Economy

Is it over?  Or has it just taken a nap, and ready to re-appear?  This recession has been difficult on many of us.  We all know a friend or relative who has lost their job.  Many of us have had to make difficult decisions to terminate the employment of people we care about.  Depending on who and what we read, perhaps the worst is behind us, and 2011 will be a better year.  Oh my, it has to be!!

So what happens to our employees who have survived this economic tsunami?  First, the bad news………

  • Employees (and business owners too!) have been worn down by the recession;
  • Economists are sending out mixed forecasts almost daily about the sustainability of the recovery;
  • Many employees are feeling less connected to their employers after rounds of layoffs, salary reductions, budget cuts, and ongoing uncertainty;
  • Employers have not rushed out to hire new workers for positions that were eliminated over the last 18 months.

BUT WAIT….there is good news!!…..

  • Many of us have experienced recessions in the past, and we know that “This too shall pass.”
  • Unemployment is beginning to stabilize, and some employers are actually beginning to hire again
  • The Colorado job market may lead the nation in the recovery, which could be good news for employers and employees alike.

So what can we do now to prepare for the recovery, and retain our employees when the job market improves?  We have all been through some challenging times, and have retained some great people.  What can you do, without spending a lot of money you don’t have, to keep your valued employees as the recovery unfolds (fast, or ever-so-slowly, it will happen!):

  • You need to be open and visible with your team members.  Keep them informed on the company’s financial condition and plans for the future. Even if you have to deliver bad news, employees appreciate the fact that a business owner took the time to communicate openly and honestly with all team members.  Younger employees need reassurance that downturns are survivable and that “we will get through this!”;
  • Get employees involved by seeking their input on ways to improve the company’s products, customer service, and most important, the bottom line;
  • Look for ways to provide individual recognition.  You just can’t beat face to face opportunities to say “thank you” to your team members.  Give praise to individuals at company meetings…you don’t have to spend money to make employees happy!  Give them a hand-written note to say “thanks” for a job well done, or present them with a small gift (it certainly does not have to be expensive) that is personal to your employee.
  • Participate as a company in one of our many amazing non-profits in the South Metro area, like Project CURE.  Working side-by-side as a team to help others builds a strong sense of pride, and it does not cost a dime!
  • Add a wellness program that encourages team building at the same time you are promoting a healthier lifestyle.  It fun, and we even have a chamber investor who can help you get organized.
  • Celebrate successes! If you sign a major contract, bring in some pizza and announce the good news to everyone.

And while we have to be realistic about our business conditions, always remember good ole Norman Vincent Peal and his Power of Positive Thinking!

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Paycheck Fairness Act

Bulletin.…..The U.S. Senate failed on November 17 to reach the required number of votes to bring S.3772 to a full vote, which means this measure has been defeated for this session of Congress.  Thank you to everyone who called their Senators to encourage their NO vote!

HR Alert- Paycheck Fairness Act

The lame duck session of Congress starts on November 15.  The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote as early as November 17th on the “Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 3772).”  The House passed the PFA back in January.  Here is what this bill will do to employers:

  1. Significantly restrict the factors HR professionals use to compensate employees.  It would prohibit employers from using many legitimate factors such as professional experience, education, training, shift differentials and profitability of the company when making compensation decisions.
  2. Authorize EEOC and the Department of Labor to collect wage information from employers and would effectively encourage employees to publicize their co-workers’ wages by preventing employer retaliation against an individual who publically discloses the wages of other employees.

I have been an active member of the Society for Human Resource Management for many years.  This is the largest professional HR group in the world.  SHRM is strongly opposed to this measure.  I urge you to please contact our two U.S. senators now and tell them to vote against S. 3772, the Paycheck Fairness Act.  The vote may come up as early as Wednesday, November 17, so your phone call or email is urgently requested.  Let Senator Bennet (202-224-5852, bennet.senate.gov.) and Senator Udall (202-224-5941, markudall.senate.gov) know how you feel today!  Employers need to be focused on creating more jobs rather than complying with more bureaucracy!

Posted in Compensation legislation by nfrazier. Comments Off on Paycheck Fairness Act