The pending court fight between the U.S. DOL and a coalition of states and business groups over the new overtime exemption rules will not be resolved before President Obama leaves office in January, even though the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has now granted the DOL’s motion to set an expedited briefing schedule on its appeal from a preliminary district court order blocking the rules from taking effect. While we don’t know for sure what position the Trump administration will take on the new rules, the nomination of fast-food executive Andy Puzder as Secretary of Labor seems to be a pretty clear sign. Puzder has been a vocal critic of the new rule.
Anticipating that the DOL will be less than vigorous in its defense of the rule once President Trump takes office, the Texas AFL-CIO has filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit so that it can carry on in the DOL’s place should the administration change its position. The court has yet to rule on the motion, so we don’t know whether the labor organization will be permitted to defend the new rule in court.
For those taking bets, this somewhat increases the odds that the rules may take effect at some point notwithstanding the results of the election. However, there are still multiple ways in which they might be permanently blocked. At this point, the only sure bet is that employers will be stuck in limbo for at least the near term.