Overtime Injunction Appealed To 5th Circuit

The overtime debate is heading to the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Several federal officials and offices, including Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, filed a notice of appeal to the Fifth Circuit today regarding State of Nevada v. United States Department of Labor. The plaintiffs, which included 21 states and a coalition of business groups, were granted a preliminary injunction by Judge Amos Mazzant of the United States District Court – East District of Texas on Nov. 22.

The injunction blocked changes to overtime regulations proposed by the Department of Labor that were set to go into effect today. The rule changes were to, among other things, double the salary threshold for workers receiving overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476 and establish a mechanism to update salary levels every few years.

The regulations were expected to affect 4.2 million workers nationwide. While no estimate was made regarding the effect on the nonprofit sector, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated in 2012 that the sector made up a little more than 10 percent of American jobs.

A Department of Justice spokesperson confirmed that the appeal will be going to the Fifth Circuit, but declined further comment on the pending litigation. A briefing schedule for the court, which is based in New Orleans and handles appeals from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, has not been set.

The Department of Labor was quick to oppose last week’s decision, indicating in a statement that it intended to consider its legal options. “We strongly disagree with the decision by the court, which has the effect of delaying a fair day’s pay for a long day’s work for millions of hardworking Americans,” the statement said, in part.

Reactions in the nonprofit sector were a mix of shock and relief, with some organizations and professional groups telling The NonProfit Times that they were pleased to see the injunction and were optimistic for a less significant overtime rule change in the future. Others have chosen to take a more cautious approach while the regulations’ future remain in limbo.

“Until the legal questions are resolved, we will continue to advise YMCAs to prepare for eventual implementation of the new overtime regulations,” said Kevin Washington, president and CEO in a statement shortly after the decision. “We will monitor the situation closely and act accordingly once there is a final ruling.”