A proposed collective action alleges language specialists employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation are owed unpaid overtime wages.
The nine-page lawsuit, filed by a pseudonymous plaintiff in the Court of Federal Claims, alleges the FBI, until roughly September 2019, misclassified language specialists, also referred to as language analysts, as exempt from Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protections, including overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 each week. In September 2019, the FBI reclassified language specialists as non-exempt from the FLSA, the case says, claiming the plaintiff and similarly situated employees, those within occupational series GS-1040, have put in more than eight hours per day and 40 hours per week at various times between 2018 and around September 2019.
“Nevertheless, Defendant considered and treated Plaintiff and other similarly situated LSs as FLSA exempt, and did not accord Plaintiff the rights and benefits to which FLSA non-exempt employees of Defendants are entitled,” the complaint says.
Instead of overtime wages, the plaintiff, who seeks anonymity due to the sensitive nature of their job duties, and similarly situated workers, from various times since at least 2018, received compensatory time at a pay rate of “less that they are due under the FLSA,” the suit claims.
The case alleges the FBI has run afoul of federal labor law by “wrongfully and willfully” failing and refusing to provide the plaintiff and other language specialists with the pay and benefits they are due under the FLSA.
The plaintiff looks to represent all FLSA FBI employees who worked as language specialists in occupational series GS-1040 and were classified as exempt under the FLSA between 2018 and the present. The suit asks the court to award the plaintiff and others similarly situated with back pay, liquidated damages and interest under the FLSA and Back Pay Act, among other relief.
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