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Employers applaud court ruling against new overtime rules

Workers in New York who expected to qualify for overtime pay after the Obama administration raised the salary limit to about $47,000 may no longer have the opportunity. The rule represented the first adjustment to the federal overtime regulations since 2004 and would have enabled over 4 million more people to collect overtime pay.

The new rule had been challenged in court by 21 states and business groups, such as the National Restaurant Association. A federal judge had blocked the rule from coming into effect pending a final decision, which has now come down in favor of employers. An attorney general for one state participating in the lawsuit against the overtime change said that raising the salary limit would have resulted in millions of dollars in payroll costs and job losses.

The federal judge reasoned that the new salary level, which was almost double of the existing threshold of $23,660, would have granted overtime pay to some management employees designated as exempt from wage and hour laws. Advocates for workers' rights, however, insist that the lower salary limit excludes some workers who are not managers and should be compensated for overtime.

A person with questions about qualifying for overtime pay could consult an attorney. Employers often wrongly classify workers as exempt or contractors, and a lawyer might check how an employee is classified to see if the person should be considered an exempt manager or an hourly employee based on work duties. If overtime should have been paid, an attorney could guide the person through the process of making overtime claims. An attorney could request payroll records and challenge the person's job classification. Damages sought with a lawsuit could include unpaid wages and benefits.

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