Already this morning, my phone has not stopped ringing and the emails continue to pour in. The word is out – Judge Mazzant granted the emergency preliminary injunction, putting the December 1, 2016 FLSA DOL regulations on hold. What does this mean for employers and HR professionals that were scrambling to meet the December 1 deadline? All of your work preparing for the revisions can – and should – be put to good use. Remember, the white-collar duties test did not change! Thus, the ONLY employees who would have (theoretically) benefited from the rule changes, were those employees who met the duties test of a white collar employee, and who were paid more than $23,660, but less than $47,476, and thus needed to get a salary increase up to at least $47,476 to remain exempt.
In other words, embrace your internal audit and continue to use the old December 1 deadline as your internal target to reclassify employees. Again, the Final Rule has just been put on hold – it may rear its ugly head in the future and you’ll be back where you started. Thus, for those employees that were found to be misclassified after your internal audit, there is no reason not to reclassify them by December 1, as you were going to do. I love wage and hour litigation, but it is not employer friendly, and certainly not cheap. Thus, the only reprieve for employers is that you no longer need to increase the salary for properly classified white-collar exempt employees up to at least $47,476, until the final outcome of the Texas cases. If someone was determined to be misclassified based on their job duties (not salary), they are still misclassified – you can cut off damages and limit your potential liability by reclassifying them sooner than later (preferably by the December 1 deadline so there is some rationale as to why you are doing it now). As to the FLSA Texas cases and final outcome of the litigation – only time will tell. I’ll keep you posted.