On Federal Judge’s Egregious Decision Invalidating DOL’s Overtime Rule

WASHINGTON — The following is a statement from Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, in response to Judge Mazzant’s ruling invalidating the U.S. Department of Labor’s new overtime rule:

“Today’s decision by Judge Mazzant strips hard-earned, long overdue overtime pay protections from millions of America’s workers forced to put in extra hours on the job – away from their families – with no extra pay at all.  While the judge has abandoned his earlier faulty conclusions that there’s no place at all for a salary test under the white collar exemption, today’s decision is equally egregious.  With no analysis of the record or relevant empirical data, Judge Mazzant has substituted his own judgment for that of the Department of Labor, which published the overtime rule after two years of work, soliciting extensive comment from stakeholders prior to regulation, engaging in a full notice and comment period, and then further considering the nearly 300,000 comments submitted, the overwhelming majority of which were favorable to the proposed rule. Backed by this analysis, the DOL’s overtime rule updated the exemption with a salary threshold that adequately and appropriately respects and promotes the overarching goals of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime pay guarantees—to ensure that the law is broadly construed to cover most workers, and that exemptions are narrowly interpreted to exclude only those who clearly are not entitled to its protections.  For working people across America heading into the Labor Day weekend, the challenge by big business to the rule and this judge’s decision is one more reminder of how the rules are rigged in favor of corporate interests—and against ensuring that all who work for a living will make a decent living from work.

“We call on Labor Secretary Acosta to appeal this decision immediately.  The court’s summary review and reversal of a standard set after the lengthy, thoughtful, open and transparent process is an affront to the administrative process and rule of law–and to the millions of workers across the nation who look to the Department of Labor to “foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States.”  This decision should not stand.”


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