Request for Overtime Compensation

B-194751: Nov 7, 1980

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Navy Security guards appealed a Claims Division settlement which denied their claim for retroactive overtime compensation. They alleged that for the period in question they were required to report to work 30 minutes prior to each 8 hour shift; and spend at least 20 minutes each day, in excess of their 8 hour shift, changing into and out of uniform. The record revealed that the claimants did report early to perform preshift duties that had been officially ordered. The length of time that was required to perform these functions was in dispute. The agency reported that, while the guards did report to work as much as 30 minutes early, they were always relieved equally early by their successors. The time required to perform preshift functions was no more than 10 minutes, according to the agency. Thus, the guards never worked more than 10 minutes in excess of 8 hours even if they reported for work 30 minutes early. Because the evidence offered by the claimants failed to overcome the agency's report of the facts, GAO was obliged to deny their claims. Absent acceptable evidence that the employees worked more than 10 minutes overtime per day, it was unnecessary to determine whether their coffee and lunch breaks could be offset against overtime. The administrative report indicated that the agency did not strictly enforce the regulation which forbade the wearing of uniforms off duty. This plainly revealed that the agency gave the employees the option of changing clothes at home or at work. Where an employee has the option of changing into or out of uniform at home, he may not be compensated for the time it takes to change. The agency's report to GAO was not viewed by GAO as a rebuttal giving rise to the right to reply. The denial of the claim was sustained.

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