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Pay & Leave Claim Decisions

Washington, DC

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Fair Labor Standards Act Decision
Under section 204(f) of title 29, United States Code

Doris J. Williams
Investigation Specialist
GS-1801-12
Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Unit
Office of the Inspector General
Defense Commissary Agency
Department of Defense
Fort Lee, Virginia
Position should be nonexempt, thus due FLSA overtime pay for time spent in training outside regular duty hours.
Denied; failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted
F-1801-12-01

Robert D. Hendler
Classification and Pay Claims
Program Manager
Agency Compliance and Evaluation
Merit System Accountability and Compliance

04/21/2016


Date

As provided in section 551.708 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), this decision is binding on all administrative, certifying, payroll, disbursing and accounting officials of agencies for which the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) administers the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  There is no right of further administrative appeal.  This decision is subject to discretionary review only under conditions and time limits specified in 5 CFR 551.708 (address provided in section 551.710).  The claimant has the right to bring action in the appropriate Federal court if dissatisfied with the decision.

 Introduction

On November 5, 2014, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Merit System Accountability and Compliance (MSAC) received an FLSA claim from Ms. Doris J. Williams, who was employed in 2011 and part of 2012 in a position classified as Investigation Specialist, GS-1801-12, in the former Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Unit, Office of the Inspector General (IG), Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), Department of Defense, at Fort Lee, Virginia.  The claimant believes her work in that position should be nonexempt (i.e., covered) under the FLSA and she is thus entitled to overtime pay for time she spent in training during 2011 beyond the regular training course hours.  We have accepted and decided this claim under section 4(f) of the FLSA of 1938, as amended, codified at section 204(f) of title 29, United States Code (U.S.C.).

In reaching our FLSA decision, we have carefully considered all information furnished by the claimant and her agency, including a copy of the agency’s administrative report which we received on December 22, 2014. 

Background

The record shows the claimant was assigned to the FLSA exempt position of Investigation Specialist, GS-1801-12, position description (PD) number HQ06026, from May 23, 2011, to October 7, 2012.  From July 11, 2011, to July 28, 2011, she attended and completed the IG Course of Instruction, and requests FLSA overtime compensation with interest for a total of 27 hours she claims she worked on multiple days at home on class assignments after completing the course’s regular eight-hour training day.  On October 7, 2012, the claimant was reassigned from the position of Investigation Specialist, GS-1801-12, to the FLSA exempt position she currently occupies, classified as Investigator, GS-1810-12, PD number HQ12084, in the Investigation Branch of the IG’s office. 

Analysis

To determine whether a claimant is owed overtime pay under the FLSA, we normally must first determine whether the work performed is exempt or nonexempt from the overtime pay provisions of the FLSA.  However, although under the FLSA regulations in section 551.702 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), a claimant may at any time file a claim challenging the correctness of his or her FLSA exemption status determination, time limits apply to FLSA pay claims.  All FLSA pay claims filed on or after June 30, 1994, are subject to a two-year statute of limitations (three years for willful violations).  To preserve a claim, a claimant or his or her designated representative must submit a written claim either to the agency employing the claimant during the claim period or to OPM.  The date the agency or OPM receives the claim is the date that determines the period of possible entitlement to back pay.  If a claim for back pay is established, the claimant will be entitled to pay for a period up to two years (three years for a willful violation) back from the date the claim was received.  See 5 CFR 551.702(c)

OPM received the claimant’s FLSA claim on November 5, 2014,[1] and there is no indication in the record the claimant previously filed a written claim with her employing agency challenging her FLSA exemption status.  Therefore, the claim period for the purpose of determining any overtime pay potentially owed under the FLSA in connection with the requested change in the exemption status determination of her former position is November 5, 2014, to November 5, 2012, or to November 5, 2011, if a willful violation is determined to have occurred.  Thus, her claim for FLSA overtime pay while attending IG training from July 11, 2011, to July 28, 2011, falls outside both the two and three-year statute of limitations governing FLSA pay claims and is time-barred.  Consequently, because any determination on the FLSA exemption status of her former position would not change the outcome of her pay claim, we decline to issue a decision on the merits of this claim. 

Decision

Denied for failure to state a claim for which relief may be granted.

[1] In a letter dated July 10, 2013, received by OPM on July 23, 2013, the claimant sought to file an overtime claim related to the aforementioned course work and for "night differential and weekend rate" for "daily preparation for the course, testing review, and homework assignments."  Her requeest stated that "[if] necessary [her] exempt status be reviewed for its accuracy and proper exemption of the designated duty position."  In a letter dated August 6, 2013, OPM adviseed the claimant that:  (1) under OPM's FLSA claim regulations at 5 CFR 551.705(c), the information to be submittted with an FLSA claim includes a rationale as to why the claimant's work is FLSA non-exempt, and (2) night payy differential, locality pay, and Sunday pay claims, properly brought under 31 U.S.C.§ 3702(a)(2), the implementing regulations for which are contained in part 178 of title 5, CFR, require a final agency-level denial before the claim is submitted to OPM for adjudication.  See 5 CFR 178.102(a).  The claimant subsequently filed an overtime claim dated January 16, 2014, received by OPM on January 28, 2014, under 31 U.S.C. 3702(a)(2).  A decision denying that claim (#14-0017) was issued on August 20, 2014.  Because it was not filed as an FLSA claim, it does not alter the claim period established in the present FLSA claim decision.

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