- Al Sharpton, Trayvon Martin’s parents rally against Fla. ‘stand your ground’ law
- Hillary Clinton campaign got illicit funds from D.C. scandal figure
- Obama administration backs off plan to cut prescription-drug program
- Tickets linked to stolen passports purchased by Iranian middleman
- More than 3,500 police planned for Boston Marathon
- Ottawa day care suspends 2-year-old for ‘outside’ cheese sandwich
- Liam Neeson tells NYC mayor to ‘man up’ in horse carriage fight
- Real-life Dr. Doolittle to reveal how to talk to animals
- Climate change could bring back smallpox, researchers say
- Shoe-bomb witness to speak from London at N.Y. trial
Feds feel shirked for shutdown work, sue for double pay
Some federal workers who were required to remain on the job during the government shutdown said Monday that they have filed a lawsuit demanding double pay, arguing that the government’s failure to pay them on time is a violation of labor laws.
The five workers, all employed by the Bureau of Prisons and required to work during the shutdown, said their paychecks in early October didn’t include money for Oct. 1 through Oct. 5. The workers said that meant they didn’t earn the minimum wage for their work, and they also weren’t paid overtime — both of which are labor violations.
“The minimum wage applicable to essential employees is $7.25 per hour, or $290 for a 40-hour week,” the workers said in their lawsuit, filed in federal claims court late last month. “Many essential employees were paid less than $290 for work performed during the week.”
The federal employees have since been paid for the time they worked, but their lawsuit says many of them had to make tough spending choices and incurred debts and interest costs.
The workers said they are entitled to compensatory damages under the Fair Labor Standards Act that should double the amount they have been paid.
About 1.3 million civilian workers were deemed essential and were required to work during the shutdown. Federal law said they would get paid eventually for the time they worked, but none of the money could be disbursed until the shutdown ended.
Congress passed legislation to pay workers who were deemed nonessential for the 16 days of the shutdown.
The Justice Department didn’t return a message seeking comment on the lawsuit.
Heidi Burakiewicz, attorney for the workers, said her own labor standards cases were postponed during the shutdown because no government attorneys were available to oppose her.
She said the workers she is representing had to make difficult choices during the shutdown, including incurring interest because they couldn’t pay off their full credit card bills — even though they put in the time to earn the money.
Ms. Burakiewicz said a judge has put the case on hold to determine whether any legislation is moving in Congress to resolve the problem, but the lawyer said she hasn’t heard of any such legislation and expects the stay to be lifted soon.
The partial shutdown lasted from Oct. 1 through Oct. 16, spanning parts of two federal pay periods. Workers received both paychecks, but their first check didn’t include money for any days they may have worked during the week of Oct. 1.
The workers are asking a judge to send notices to all of the estimated 1.3 million federal workers who stayed on the job without pay, asking them whether they want to join the lawsuit.
Ms. Burakiewicz said she has received paperwork from hundreds of federal workers who are eager to join the case.
During the 1995-96 government shutdown, the American Federation of Government Employees sued to insist that all workers be paid — thus taking any back-pay issues out of the hands of Congress.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- CPAC 2014: Poll shows GOP discontent, Congress frustration
- U.S. has lost track of tens of thousands of foreign students who came study to then took jobs
- Border Patrol Chief: Agents can still shoot at rock throwers
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Border Patrol policy still permits agents to shoot at rock-throwers
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
- Hillary Clinton campaign received funds from Jeffrey Thompson
- FCC targets black conservative in TV station fight
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- Unanimous Senate passes bill on military sex assault to give victims more say in prosecution
- Atheists sue to remove 'Ground Zero Cross' from 9/11 museum
- Sharyl Attkisson resigns from CBS after months of talks
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- George Zimmerman signs autographs at Orlando gun show
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again