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Mortgage Bankers Association v. Harris, No. 12-5246 (D.C. Cir. July 2, 2013)

Articles Discussing Case:

D.C. Circuit to DOL: You Can't Just Change Your Mind About Mortgage Loan Originators

Phelps Dunbar LLP • July 11, 2013
Last week, a unanimous panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a 2010 Department of Labor Administrator Interpretation (AI) in which the DOL had stated that mortgage loan originators are non-exempt, but instead must be paid minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Mortgage Bankers Association v. Harris, No. 12-5246 (D.C. Cir. July 2, 2013). In 2010, the Department of Labor announced that in lieu of its historic practice of issuing opinion letters in response to specific factual scenarios presented by petitioners, it would issue more generalized guidance in the form of Administrator Interpretations (AIs) when it found it necessary to provide further clarity regarding the proper interpretation of a statutory or regulatory issue. The first AI rescinded a 2006 opinion letter which had stated that mortgage loan officers as described in that letter qualified for the FLSA's administrative exemption, and employers were not required to pay them overtime. The 2010 AI reversed DOL's position, stating that mortgage loan officers performing "typical" duties did not meet the administrative exemption, and so were owed overtime compensation. Plaintiffs' lawyers rejoiced.