Our law firm recently learned that BATF is treating many of its non-supervisory and non-managerial Industry Operations Investigators – GS-1801, Industry Operations Intelligence Specialists – GS-1801, Intelligence Research Specialists – GS-0132, and Investigative Analysts – GS-1805 as exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). We believe this is unlawful and that many employees in these job categories have likely not received the full amount of pay they are due.
Specifically, several employees told us that they are receiving compensatory time in lieu of overtime pay. This is unlawful because employees covered by the FLSA are due time-and-one-half pay at their regular rate for all hours worked over eight in a day and forty in a workweek. Even if comp time has been used to take days off, we believe employees are still entitled to back pay and damages for being paid less than they are entitled to for the comp time they took. Further, while some employees may receive Title 5 overtime pay, Title 5 overtime is less than what employees are entitled to under the FLSA.
In sum, we believe BATF is committing a variety of unlawful pay practices. We have filed a lawsuit seeking back pay and damages. If you are interested in participating in our lawsuit and meet the eligibility requirements below, please download and sign both the Employee Consent to Be a Claimant and Retainer Agreement (.pdf) and either scan and email them to chouse [at] bernsteinlipsett.com, or mail them to: Bernstein & Lipsett, P.C., 1130 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 950, Washington, D.C. 20036.
Eligibility to Join Lawsuit
Under the FLSA, the applicable statute of limitations is two years before the date a claim is filed, with the possibility of a three-year limitations period if it can be shown that the violation was willful or in reckless disregard of the law. Anyone who held the positions listed above at any time within the last three years may be eligible to join the lawsuit as a plaintiff, including those who are no longer in the positions because of a job change or retirement.
Back Pay and Other Damages
If we prevail on your claims for back pay, we believe you will be able to recover back pay for your overtime or comp time worked for the period beginning at least two years and up to three years before we file your claim and continuing until the agency begins paying you properly. You may also be entitled to up to 100% in liquidated damages on the back pay due.
Pursuing a Claim
We represent plaintiffs on a contingency fee basis, meaning that there is no upfront cost to participate in the lawsuit. If we prevail, we will be entitled to 25% of the amount that is recovered for each plaintiff in addition to any attorneys’ fees and costs that we recover from the Government under statutory fee provisions. If we do not prevail, you will not be liable for any attorneys’ fees or costs.
It is in your interest to send us the consent form and retainer agreement as soon as possible because it allows us to file your claim and, thereby, preserve the time period you will be entitled to back pay.
Some of you may be concerned about retaliation if you participate in a lawsuit seeking what is rightly yours. The FLSA makes it unlawful to retaliate against an employee for filing an FLSA claim. In our years representing federal employees in cases against the Government, we have encountered very few instances of alleged retaliation. In those cases, we have always been able to informally resolve any problems. In our experience, the Department of Justice, which represents the BATF in these matters, does not tolerate retaliation against federal employee plaintiffs for seeking to vindicate their statutory rights.
We look forward to being able to represent you and other BATF employees. If you have any questions about participating in this case, please contact Linda Lipsett at (202) 296-1798, or her assistant, Charlotte House, at chouse [at] bernsteinlipsett.com.