Federal court puts new overtime rule on hold

Judge Amos Mezzant of the US District Court of Eastern Texas has issued a preliminary injunction against new overtime rules scheduled to go into effect Dec. 1, the National Newspaper Association reports.

The judge said his order would hold until further court review, accepting the argument of a number of state governments that to allow the rule to go into effect would create harm to employers, NNA Public Policy Director Tonda Rush said in a statement released Tuesday.

The judge said Congress intended to create an exemption from the overtime rule in the Wage and Hour laws for employees who were in the executive, administrative and professional categories. By increasing the salary threshold to $47,476 annually, a doubling of the previous threshold, the Department of Labor effectively created a "salary test" that consumed the definition of exempt employees. This action, said Mezzant, exceeded the Department's authority.

The Labor Department is expected to seek an immediate review.

Until another court issues a contrary order, however, the Dec. 1 implementation is on hold nationwide.