"Mitchell Quick is a partner whose practice includes all aspects of management labor and employment law, with an emphasis on employment discrimination litigation, defense of wage and hour claims and employment law counseling. He has counseled and represented large and small manufacturing facilities, dairy cooperatives, hospitals, financial institutions, restaurants, and technology companies. He is co-author of Michael Best’s “Guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act” and Chair of the firm’s Wage Claim Defense Practice.
The court’s order blocks the DOL’s regulations that would have: (1) more than doubled the minimum salary threshold for the executive, administrative, and professional (EAP) exemptions from the current level of $455 per week ($23,660 annualized) to $913 per week ($47,476 annualized); (2) automatically updated the minimum salary level every three years beginning January 1, 2020; and, (3) increased the “Highly Compensated Employee Exemption” from $100,000 to $134,004 annually.
The court’s findings and analysis were no less dramatic in their substance and scope:
- “Congress intended the EAP exemption to depend on an employee’s duties rather than an employee’s salary.”
- The DOL exceeded its Congressional authority “by raising the minimum salary level such that it supplants the duties test” and “creates … a de facto salary-only test.”
- “Because the Final Rule is unlawful … the DOL also lacks the authority to implement the automatic updating mechanism.”
- Plaintiffs have shown “a likelihood of success on the merits, will “suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is not granted,” and “the public interest is best served by an injunction.”
- A “nationwide injunction is proper in this case” because “the scope of the alleged irreparable injury extends nationwide.”
As its name implies, the “preliminary” injunction does not ultimately seal the fate of the regulations, as the court could still decide not to issue a “permanent injunction” and uphold the regulations in part or whole. However, given the court’s findings and analysis, this seems highly."
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