Georgia joins lawsuit to stop new overtime rules

ATLANTA - Georgia is one of 21 states suing the U.S. Department of Labor to try to block a new overtime rule that would make about four million more Americans eligible for overtime pay.

"The United States Department of Labor’s new overtime rule is yet another example of the President’s unconstitutional overreach,” Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens said in a release. “Our nation’s laws, the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches must be followed.”

Olens and other state attorneys general want a federal judge in Texas to overturn the new rule that would limit the so-called "white collar exemption."

Right now, if you're a salaried employee making more than about $23,000, you are not entitled to overtime.

The new rule announced in May would raise that bar to $47,000, affecting about four million American workers.

The lawsuit by the states argues the change would burden the private and public sectors by putting a strain on budgets and forcing employers to lay off workers or cut back on their hours.

The rule change did not require Congressional approval.

The plaintiffs call it a federal overreach by the Obama administration.

“We are confident in the legality of all aspects of our final overtime rule. It is the result of a comprehensive, inclusive rule-making process," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez. "Partisan lawsuits filed today by 21 states and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce seek to prevent the Obama administration from making sure a long day’s work is rewarded with fair pay." 

The new rule is scheduled to go into effect on December 1, but the lawsuit could delay or even stop it.

"Employers should continue their preparations for the coming changes, rather than deferring action in anticipation of an 11th-hour reprieve," said Atlanta attorney Caroline Brown of Fisher Phillips.

States that joined the lawsuit include Georgia, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.    

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also filed a legal challenge to the rule.

"Both the Attorneys General lawsuit and the companion lawsuit filed by business advocacy groups led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce seek judicial action where prior regulatory and legislative advocacy have failed so far," said Atlanta attorney Jim Swartz from Polsinelli. "The plaintiffs in both cases face a tough legal standard, but given the significant financial and organizational impact the regulations have, it's a challenge worth bringing for business groups."

Click here to find a link to the lawsuit.

(© 2016 WXIA)


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