Chipotle Workers Challenge Overtime Rule Injunction — and Now Must Pay

A group of Chipotle workers in New Jersey filed suit to be paid under the Obama overtime rule that raised the exemption threshold to $47,476 a year, and U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant — who issued a permanent injunction against the rule — wasn’t too pleased. He ordered them to go back to work and pay Chipotle for the company’s legal fees in the case.

chipolte-workers-sue-to-get-overtime-payA little background: Judge Mazzant first temporarily blocked the new overtime rule just days before it was to become effective on Dec. 1, 2016, and then this past August made the injunction permanent on a nationwide basis, saying the Department of Labor (DOL) had overstepped its authority in issuing the overtime rule.

The Chipotle workers argued that the injunction didn’t apply to them because the company they worked for wasn’t part of the original lawsuit upon which Judge Mazzant issued his injunction.

Judge Mazzant wrote: “Respondents sued to enforce the Final Rule in direct violation of the Court’s Order. In doing so, they recklessly disregarded a duty owed to the Court — the long-standing and elementary duty to obey its orders, including a nationwide injunction.” He gave them seven days to drop the lawsuit, return to work, and pay the company’s legal expenses from the suit.

Justin Swartz, a lawyer for the workers in the New Jersey lawsuit, said his camp is evaluating how to proceed. “We respectfully disagree with the ruling and are considering our options,” Swartz told Bloomberg Law in a March 19 email after learning of the judge’s order.

NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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