Overtime Compensation Under the Fair Labor Standards Act

B-202859: Apr 6, 1982

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An advance decision was requested concerning the validity of a compliance order issued by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) pertaining to a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime claim of an Army employee. The record showed that the employee worked for the Army in the dual status of a civilian employee and a reservist. In his complaint seeking compensation for overtime, the employee alleged that for 1 day each week for over 3 months, he worked 5 hours in excess of his normal 8-hour workday. He also stated that the work he performed during these overtime hours was done in his civilian capacity. After receiving the claim, OPM conducted an extensive investigation into his allegations. Since the Army had not kept all of the necessary records from which the employee's claim could be verified, OPM obtained sworn statements from his company commanders and co-workers attesting to the veracity of the allegations. As a result of this investigation, OPM issued a compliance order to the Army which required the Army to pay compensation to the employee for the overtime that he claimed. The Army conceded that its supervisory personnel did permit the employee to work some overtime hours, but argued that they did so without knowledge of his dual status. FLSA authorizes OPM to administer the Act with respect to most Federal employees. Under the Act, OPM has promulgated regulations which provide for gathering facts and issuing decisions in response to FLSA violations. GAO will not disturb the OPM findings unless they are clearly erroneous. The only evidence submitted by the Army was its statement that it cannot locate all of the records needed to substantiate the employee's claim. This does not satisfy its burden of proving that the OPM findings were clearly erroneous. In addition, the Army contended that the limitation provision of the Federal Personnel Manual precludes consideration of this claim without merit. GAO held that the only limitation provision which would operate to bar payment to a Federal employee of a meritorious claim under FLSA was the 6-year limitation. The 6-year limitation was applicable to bar a portion of this claim. Accordingly, with the modification, the employee was entitled to overtime compensation under FLSA pursuant to the compliance order by OPM.

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