Officials from 21 U.S. states on filed a lawsuit against the Obama Administration on Tuesday claiming that a new labor rule, which offers overtime pay to all American workers who earn up to nearly $50,000 per year, is unconstitutional.
The lawsuit filed in federal court in Sherman, Texas says under the rule, set to take effect Dec. 1, many state employees would become eligible for overtime pay even though they perform management duties that should make them exempt.
“Once again, President Obama is trying to unilaterally rewrite the law,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement. “And this time, it may lead to disastrous consequences for our economy.”
The suit, led by Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, also argues that the Obama administration overstepped its authority by creating the new regulation.
“The Department of Labor’s new overtime rule is the latest in a series of unlawful, overreaching and unilateral actions taken by President Obama’s administration,” Laxalt said in a statement Tuesday. “Longstanding federal law requires an overtime exemption for ‘bona fide executive, administrative, or professional’ employees.”
“The Department of Labor … is forcing state, local and private employers to pay overtime to any employee who earns under a certain amount, regardless of whether that employee is actually performing ‘executive, administrative, or professional’ duties,” he continued.
The rule would require employers to pay overtime to any salaried worker earning less than $47,500 a year, double the current threshold of $23,660. Business groups say the rule will force employers to demote salaried workers to hourly positions and create more part-time jobs.
Plaintiffs in Tuesday’s lawsuit include the states of Texas, Nevada, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia and Ohio, among others.
The U.S. Department of Labor, which released the rule in May, did not immediately have comment. Last week, in response to reports that a lawsuit challenging the rule was imminent, Labor Department official David Weil said in a statement “we are confident in the legality of all aspects of our rule.”
The states party to the lawsuit are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.