NATIONAL COUNCIL OF EEOC LOCALS No. 216
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
OVERTIME AND EEOC
BACKGROUND: Overtime at EEOC is a controversial issue. The Agency agreed to settle an overtime grievance in 1995. The grievance was based on the fact that EEOC required employees to work and travel outside of regular work hours, but refused to compensate them. As a result of the settlement, the Investigators and paralegals were designated as "non-exempt", and are entitled to be paid for overtime work.
WHAT EEOC IS NOW CHANGING: Effective April 14, 2006, the EEOC will change the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) designation of GS-9, 11 and 12 Investigators, GS-12 and 13 Mediators and GS-11 Paralegals from "non exempt" to "exempt." The FLSA defines which employees are eligible to receive overtime compensation. The EEOC is responsible for making the correct determination under the law and is subject to severe financial penalties for making the wrong designation.
WHAT THE UNION IS DOING FOR YOU: Under the statutory scheme, the Union will be filing a grievance to protect overtime. The grievance will address overtime pay for hours worked during the 3 years before April 1, 2006, as well as the overtime hours following the agency’s April 1, 2006 change of the affected employees to an improper "exempt" designation. The appropriate FLSA designation will be part of this grievance.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR AFFECTED EMPLOYEES: Once the designation is changed, the affected employees are no longer entitled to be paid overtime pay and there cannot be a claim for "suffered and permitted" overtime. Suffered and permitted overtime occurs when employees stay late, come in early, work through lunch, work weekends or take work home. As the agency has become increasingly lean, we see more and more employees working "suffered and permitted" overtime. Managers know, but do nothing to stop or prevent it. Things will only get worse as the number of frontline employees continues to dwindle.
WHAT AFFECTED EMPLOYEES MUST DO:
A. Compensatory Time After April 1, 2006: The Union is asking affected employees to do several things. First, as of April 1, 2006, affected employees must request "compensatory time" when there is a need to stay late, come in early, work through lunch or on the weekends, either at the office or at home, or take work home to complete. Next, you must keep records of when you work or are required to work overtime hours, especially when management gives you the work, but not the time to complete it. There is a form on the Council website, www.Council216.org to assist you in keeping up with your overtime hours.
B. Overtime Worked both Before and After April 1, 2006: Further, affected employees must produce records of the overtime hours worked. These may be your cost accounting time sheets or other records that were kept. This is very important since the process for the grievances will take some time. It is also important to keep records of dates/times when you are directed to stay and complete cases or other work. Again, you can look at the Council’s website for a form.
WHY YOU MUST MAKE A RECORD:
Your records help us hold the EEOC financially liable for its actions that violate the overtime laws. It is up to us to prove the hours of overtime being worked. Your actions also keep EEOC accountable to Congress and the people EEOC told it would put resources on the "frontline." If an action does result in some compensation, it is likely that only those who produced records will receive any compensation.
FINDING ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: If you want additional information on the FLSA, you can go to the Council website, www.council216.org click on the DOL button on the top right of the page and then type in FLSA. You also can see the CBA, Article 31.09.