Breaking news text with world and hand cursorOn Tuesday afternoon, a federal judge for the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas (Sherman Division) entered a preliminary injunction in State of Nevada et al. v. United States Department of Labor et al., Civil Action No. 4:16-CV-00731, blocking the U.S. Department of Labor’s Final Rule, which would have increased the minimum salary for “white collar” exempt employees from $455 per week ($23,660 annually) to $921 per week ($47,892 annually) and created an automatic update mechanism to adjust the minimum salary level every three years. The Final Rule was to be effective on December 1, 2016.

Case Background

Earlier in 2016, Nevada and twenty (20) other U.S. states filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”), the Wage and Hour Division of the DOL, and their agents, challenging the legality of the DOL’s authority to enact the Final Rule. On October 12, 2016, the States filed an Emergency Motion for a Preliminary Injunction. Amicus briefs were filed and a preliminary injunction hearing was held last week on November 16, 2016.


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On Tuesday, May 13, 2014, the Colorado Supreme Court issued two decisions that provide a glimmer of hope for businesses waging the war with state government agencies over the classification of workers as independent contractors.

The cases are:

  1. Industrial Claim Appeals Office v. Softrock Geological Services, Inc. et al. (involving the classification of 1 geologist)
  2. Western Logistics, Inc. d/b/a Diligent Delivery Systems v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office et al. (involving the classification of 220 delivery drivers)

Both cases involve whether an individual is an “independent contractor” under the Colorado Employment Security Act, C.R.S. 8-70-115. Both cases arose as a result of audits conducted by the Colorado Division of Employment and Training (aka Division of Unemployment Insurance). And, both cases originally found the businesses to be liable for unemployment compensation premiums due. In other words, for the most part, the Division (the auditor, the Hearing Officer(s) and/or the Industrial Claim Appeals Office) found that the workers in question should be classified as employees, and therefore, the companies owed back taxes for unemployment insurance premiums, interest, and going forward contributions. The businesses appealed.


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