On September 5, 2017, the Department of Labor filed with the Fifth Circuit an unopposed motion asking the court to dismiss its appeal of the nationwide preliminary injunction ruling issued last November by a Judge Amos Mazzant in the Eastern District of Texas. The motion states that DOL’s appeal is moot in light of Judge Mazzant’s entry of final judgment on August 31, 2017. Barring any unusual further developments, we anticipate that the Fifth Circuit will dismiss the appeal promptly.
By withdrawing the appeal, the Department is signaling that it intends to abandon the 2016 Final rule and, instead, to proceed with a new rulemaking in line with the Request for Information (“RFI”) the Department issued on July 26, 2017. That RFI seeks public input regarding what salary level or levels, if any, the Department should use in place of the 2016 figures in order to update the $455 weekly / $23,660 annual salary requirement for the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions implemented in the Department’s 2004 rulemaking, as well as the $100,000 annual compensation threshold for the highly-compensated variant of these exemptions.
The comment period for the RFI currently ends on September 25, 2017. To date, regulations.gov has received more than 138,000 comments in response to the RFI, though most of the comments appear to be identical submissions by numerous different commenters, as is common for this type of rulemaking. Watch for a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking announcing a new salary level for the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions in the next few months.