THURSDAY, AUGUST 31, 2017
BREAKING: federal judge strikes down FLSA white-collar exemption salary test
Ding, dong, the DOL’s salary test for white collar exemptions is dead (sort of).
A Texas federal judge has held that the Department of Labor improperly used a salary-level test to determine which white-collar workers are exempt from overtime compensation. In his words, the Obama administration’s more-than-doubling of the salary threshold “effectively eliminates a consideration of whether an employee performs ‘bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity’ duties.” Because the FLSA clearly and unambiguously defines the terms executive, administrative, and professional, the DOL lacks the authority to enact regulations that render those words meaningless. This decision is largely moot, as there was zero chance that Trump’s DOL would stick with the $913 per week salary test.
Moving forward, however, this decision makes clear that any white-collar salary level will have to be low enough such that anyone who performs administrative, executive, or professional duties, as the FLSA defines those terms, is exempt. In other words, we might as well leave the salary test at $455 per week, and regulate these exemptions via their duties, and not via how much salary an employee happens to earn per week.