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PEF sues for Hurricane Sandy overtime

By Lombardo David
Thursday, March 7, 2013

The state's second-biggest labor union is suing for back overtime pay for 14,469 of its members who weren't compensated for their work in connection with Hurricane Sandy.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the state budget director and four state department heads are named as respondents in a lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court in Albany County on Feb. 26 by the Public Employee Federation. The union is claiming the state authorized overtime hours for employees responding to the weather emergency last summer, but failed to pay for all the extra work.

The suit is available HERE.

The story can be found HERE.

Because of the "extreme emergency," the state Division of Budget made some overtime-inelegible employees eligible for overtime, although overtime pay didn't kick in until the employee worked 47.5 hours for the week. Any hours above a normal work week and below this threshold were compensated at the normal rate, according to the suit.

The state Division of budget, which normally doesn't comment on pending litigation, didn't immediately respond for comment.

The suit says this distinction by the state's DOB is a violation of the Civil Service Law's overtime pay provision. "[The state's] actions are arbitrary, capricious, irrational and contrary to law," reads the suit.

Four specific PEF employees are highlighted in the suit, including Albany County residents Joan Bobier and Heide-Marie Dudek.

Dudek, a civil engineer for the state's Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, aided the initial public and private damage assessments and worked with FEMA. She worked 237.75 hours of overtime in connection with Sandy relief and has not been compensated for any time beyond her normal week, alleges the suit. This including 67.5 hours that falls into the window of a normal work week and the 47.5-hour threshold.

Based on the failure to pay overtime wages, the suit concludes, "DOB has clearly indicated it does not intend to pay overtime to the representative petitioners or other class members for these hours worked in connection with Hurricane Sandy."

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