FEMA employees win $16.5M settlement for unpaid overtime

It's expected to take "months" for the Class Action Implementation Group to gather enough information to determine who is eligible to receive payments.

Current and former Federal Emergency Management Agency employees may soon be able to benefit from a $16.5 million settlement over unpaid overtime, the American Federation of Government Employees said this week.

AFGE Local 4060, the union that represents FEMA employees, said the settlement stems from a Fair Labor Standards Act overtime grievance. It alleged that FEMA employees “were improperly denied FLSA coverage and were not being properly compensated for all overtime work performed,” AFGE Local 4060 President Steven Reaves wrote in a message to members.

AFGE filed the grievance against FEMA in March 2018, according to a 2020 post from the Law Offices of Snider & Associates, one of the firms retained by the union for the case. By 2020, FEMA and AFGE had agreed to pause arbitration and initiated attempts to settle the case.

The “bulk” of the $16.5 million settlement is related to employee compensation and will be distributed to eligible current and former employees by the Class Action Implementation Group (CAIG), according to Reaves.

Eligibility and payment amounts will be based on “various factors and relevant data,” including information that FEMA will need to provide to AFGE, its attorneys and the CAIG, Reaves wrote.

“I recognize that there are and will be questions concerning eligibility, entitlement, participation, and payments,” he continued. “We cannot answer these questions until all of the information necessary to determine eligibility and ensure a proper division of the funds. As with other settlements of this nature, this phase is expected to take many months, at a minimum, to complete.”

Reaves says AFGE and its attorneys are not collecting claims information “at this time.” The union is directing members to a CAIG registration portal to receive the most updated information.

“Please do not contact the union, Pines Federal, nor Snider & Associates with questions,” Reaves wrote. “Please do not attempt to provide claims information at this time as it will not be accepted.”

CAIG will release more information “concerning the settlement, implementation, and distribution” once the formal implementation process begins, according to Reaves.

“In the meantime, updates concerning the settlement, implementation, and distribution, will be posted here,” he continued in the message on the Local 4060 website. “While we expect to be able to provide periodic updates until the formal implementation process begins, we will not be able to release any detailed information.”

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