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Federal Employees News Digest : Nov 11, 2013
Phil Piemonte, Managing Editor E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org What's Inside44 NOVEMBER 11, 2013 • VOL. 63, NO. 17 Destroy after reading As I may have noted here before, Washington, D.C., is often called "the city of the worried well." That's because so many people here are so well off, yet not happy unless they are worried about some- thing. And given the way things have gone lately, we have never been happier. With its high percentage of lawyers, lobbyists, politicians, journalists and dip- lomats, it is understandable why so many Washington residents check under the bed. A lot. The leaks about National Security Agency activities has many of us, even those in low-profile jobs, feeling paranoid too. And as one who has had to fake it (that Big Brother was really watching me for years), I can attest that it is great to really be running with the big dogs. Maybe we're all being watched or moni- tored. And maybe nobody's safe. Years ago I wrote an article for FEND which quoted an unnamed federal retiree. She said she was unhappy with what she considered to be a too-small cost-of- living adjustment. At the time. I thought nothing of it. Now, it may be that the CIA, NSA or somebody was on my case and found out who my Deep Throat was. Come to think of it, I never did hear from her again! INSIGHT BY MIKE CAUSEY continued on page 2 For more news...see Federal Daily at www.FederalDaily.com • OSC: Overtime abuse at DHS 3 • Bill boosts clearance reviews 4 • DOJ intervenes in lawsuit 4 • In Brief 5 • Informed Investor 7 • Federal Benefits Q&A 8 continued on page 3 Lawsuit seeks damages for delayed pay, lost overtime This week, FEND's Nathan Abse interviews Cyrus Mehri, a partner in the law firm Mehri & Skalet, PLLC. The firm is currently rep- resenting a growing number of "essential" federal employees who are joining a class- action lawsuit that seeks damages from the federal government for being ordered to work through the shutdown, but without being paid on time as they claim the law requires. Many of those affected say they were unable to pay their own bills on time, or were otherwise harmed by the government's failure to pay them on schedule. They are suing the federal government for allegedly violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. Mehri explains the law- suit, details how others can join the litigation, and explores why the government should be held to paying employees on time. Q&A with Cyrus Mehri Can you tell our readers about who was affected and why they have filed this lawsuit? Mehri: This is a case brought by my firm with lead council Heidi Burakiewicz---one of this country's premier lawyers in enforc- ing overtime issues for federal employ- ees. There were three categories of federal workers in the shutdown. First, there are those who did not have to go to work in the shutdown, and were unpaid [during the shutdown itself]. Second, there were the military---and Congress decided to make sure they got paid on time. But, third, there are our clients---the ["essential"] employees who were mandated to go to work without pay. More specifically, who are your clients--- and how were they harmed? Weren't they paid in the end? Mehri: This group, including our clients, includes 1.3 million people---"essential" federal employees, many of whom are in life-threatening jobs, including the federal correctional officers, our main plaintiffs in this case. During the shutdown these people were doing life-threatening work without pay. And what Congress may not realize is that when you require people to work without pay, that doesn't mean they suddenly don't have a mortgage to pay, utilities to pay, medical bills to pay. Our folks received a delayed payment---they didn't get their salary on time, which had huge con- sequences for many of them. Fortunately, there's a federal labor law, the FLSA, that the U.S. Government enforces against private employers---a law that we are holding the government to, for themselves. This law says if you don't make payments on time, and employees rely on those payments, then there's a consequence for that---specialized damages called "liquidated damages." This case is primarily about making sure essential employees get their pay, their overtime---
Nov 4, 2013
Nov 18, 2013