Salary Threshold Regs Un-enjoined?

By John Alan Doran

Wednesday a group of Chipotle employees brought suit in New Jersey federal court alleging FLSA violations stemming from Chipotle’s failure to follow the Obama-era salary-basis regulations. As you will recall, these regulations doubled the salary threshold for the so-called white collar exemptions, thereby rendering millions of workers eligible for overtime.  But, you will also remember that a federal judge entered an order last year enjoining those regulations before they became effective, and that injunction was nation-wide (S&H Blog Post: Salary Threshold Change Stopped). So are these Chipotle employees just sore losers or did we just misunderstand the meaning of “injunction?” The plaintiffs in this case are arguing that, while a federal court did preliminarily enjoin the DOL from implementing and enforcing the salary-basis regs, the regs nonetheless became effective automatically under the Administrative Procedures Act because the court did not enter a permanent injunction. The plaintiff’s argument seems like a real long-shot, but it is yet another twist in the unbelievably circuitous route these regs have taken.