Shipyard Workers File US Navy Unpaid Overtime Class Action Lawsuit

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Seattle, WA: An unpaid overtime class action lawsuit has been filed by former and current shipyard workers against the US Navy. The workers, employed at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Washington state, allege in their collective action that the US Navy failed to pay them overtime for work done when they were “forward deployed” to Japan.

The complaint was filed by engineering tech Alan W. Anderson and includes more than 30 shipyard employees. The proposed class action seeks to represent all similarly situated current and former employees to whom the Navy has wrongly applied a “foreign area exemption”, in order to avoid paying them overtime, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Further, the complaint asserts that under the FLSA, the shipyard workers, who are federal employees, are meant to be paid overtime at one-and-a-half times their standard hourly rate for each hour worked either in excess of 40 hours per week or eight hours per day.

According to the complaint, “By failing and refusing to pay plaintiffs and other employees similarly situated overtime pay in the manner required under law, defendant has violated, and is continuing to violate in a willful and intentional manner, the provisions of the FLSA.”

The workers assert that the US Navy appears to be using a “foreign area exemption” under the FLSA that applies to employees whose services “are performed in a workplace within a foreign country." However, there is a specific exception to that general exemption, covering Navy employees assigned to temporary duty either on, or as direct dockside support of, any nuclear aircraft carrier forward deployed to Japan, and therefore the Navy is violating the FLSA.

The 32 employees so far listed in the complaint have worked at the US nuclear aircraft carrier “forward deployed” in Japan and have exceeded both the daily and weekly limits that should trigger overtime, according to the complaint. While their current duty station is not specified in the complaint, they have been “forward deployed” since September 15, 2014.

The Navy workers are seeking back pay to make up for the overtime they have allegedly been deprived of, as well as interest and related litigation costs and fees.

The workers are represented by Gregory K. McGillivary, T. Reid Coploff and Matthew D. Purushotham of Woodley & McGillivary LLP.

The case is Anderson et al. v. U.S., case number 1:17-cv-01626, in the US Court of Federal Claims.

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