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Temporary Relief

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December 1, 2016

A U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has granted a request for a preliminary injunction barring the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) from enforcing the new overtime rule that takes effect on December 1, which would increase the salary threshold for exempt employees from $23,660 to $47,892. The court gave nationwide application to the injunction so that all states will be treated equally, rather than the injunction only being applicable to the twenty-one states (of which Oklahoma is one) that had originally sued the DOL to enjoin implementation of the new overtime regulations.

The lawsuit, filed this past September, alleges that implementation of the DOL regulations would cause a forced—and substantial—increase in labor costs for states and businesses with the near-doubling of the threshold for exemption from overtime eligibility.

What does this mean for schools? Temporary relief. Until the case is settled, employees currently exempt from overtime will continue to remain exempt. Districts can continue to pay their employees as they do now and will not have to make any changes or adjustments that they might have otherwise been planning for before the injunction.

About the Author

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Terri Thomas

Director of Legal Services

Terri Thomas serves as Director of Legal Services for OPSRC.  Ms. Thomas is an attorney practicing exclusively in the area of Oklahoma school law, with a primary focus on rural and smaller school districts. Prior to OPSRC, she served as legal counsel for the Organization of Rural Oklahoma Schools (OROS) from 1999 to 2015 and represents many school districts throughout all parts of the state.

It’s no accident that Terri wound up practicing school law.  She grew up in the school business. Terri’s father, the late Howard Thomas, was a school superintendent for 25 years in several Oklahoma school districts, including Pauls Valley—Terri’s hometown—and Ardmore. After graduating from Pauls Valley High School, Terri received her bachelor’s degree in Finance from Southern Methodist University and her Juris Doctor from the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

She and her husband, Norman Thompson, and their 8-year old daughter, Mary, reside in Oklahoma City.

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