John F. Fullerton, III, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, was quoted in Law360, in “The Top 5 Employment Cases of 2017,” by Vin Gurrieri. (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

In the last year of his presidency, President Barack Obama and then-Labor Secretary Thomas Perez finalized an expansion of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime exemptions for executive, administrative and professional, or EAP, workers — a rule that was designed to boost wages for millions of white collar professionals.

The rule would have doubled the minimum salary required to qualify for the exemption from $23,660 annually to just over $47,476 per year. It also increased the overtime eligibility threshold for highly compensated workers from $100,000 to about $134,000 and created an index for future increases.

But the regulation came under harsh fire almost immediately. Texas, Nevada and 19 other states quickly filed suit challenging the rule, and their case was consolidated with a similar lawsuit lodged by various business groups.

After first blocking the rule from taking effect in November 2016, U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant invalidated the rule in its entirety in August, saying in part that the salary level set by the DOL was so high that it flouted Congress’ intention that the overtime exemption apply to employees who perform “bona fide executive, administrative or professional capacity” duties.

By setting the salary level where it did, the DOL effectively eliminated the so-called duties test for determining which workers are eligible for the EAP exemption, which it lacked the authority to do, the judge said.

“This time last year, some employers had already started implementing changes [based on the rule],” said John Fullerton of Epstein Becker Green PC. “It’s a huge relief for employers not to have to worry about those changes — at least for the time being.”

The case is State of Nevada et al. v. U.S. Department of Labor et al., case number 4:16-cv-00731, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

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