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National Office Week in Review: September 6, 2017

A publication of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association

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NATCA NATIONAL OFFICE DEPARTMENTAL WEEK IN REVIEW August 26 - September 1 , 2017 OFFICE OF NATCA GENERAL COUNSEL Update from Office of General Counsel on FLSA Suit – Sept. 6, 2017: A major development in the resolution of Abbey v. U.S. occurred on Friday, Sept. 1 when counsel for the NATCA plaintiffs filed a joint stipulation with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that lists the revised damage amounts for the 7,912 NATCA plaintiffs in the case. This case was brought back in 2007, and the original claims in t his case alleged that the FAA improperly maintained compensatory time and credit hours programs in lieu of paying time - and - a - half overtime subsequent to passage of the FAA personnel reform statute. After decisions from the trial court in 2008 and 2011 that were in favor of the NATCA plaintiffs and a trial in 2012 to determine damages, an earlier list of damage amounts for the NATCA plaintiffs was submitted to the trial court that reflected damages for compensatory time and credit hours during the applicable recovery period. The FAA and the Department of Justice, however, appealed the trial court's decisions, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in 2014 that the FAA retained the flexibility to utilize compensatory time and credit hours programs that otherwise comported with applicable laws and regulations. On remand back in the Court of Federal Claims, the trial court ruled at the end of 2015 that the credit hours program maintained by the FAA did not comport with applicable laws and re gulations because it allowed NATCA plaintiffs to accumulate credit hours in excess of the twenty - four - hours cap and that the NATCA plaintiffs were entitled to time - and - a - half overtime for credit hours in excess of the twenty - four - hours cap. After rejectin g efforts by the FAA and DOJ to introduce new evidence with regard to the damages calculations, the trial court ordered the parties to submit a joint stipulation as to the revised damage amounts. The filing that was submitted on September 1 contains those amounts and reflects a total recovery for back pay and liquidated damages of $14,128,588. The individual plaintiff damage amounts differ from the earlier list of individual plaintiff damage amounts because of the narrowed scope of recovery after the decisi on by the appeals court. While many of the NATCA plaintiffs are still receiving damage amounts, many others are receiving no recovery because their initial damage amounts included damages only for compensatory time and/or credit hours below the twenty - four - ho urs cap. With the submission of this filing, the FAA and DOJ have 60 days to file an appeal of the decisions that the trial court issued during the remand of the case. If no appeal is filed, and NATCA is hopeful that the earlier decisions of the trial court and appeals court render any additional appeal unlikely, then final resolution of the case can occur. Damage amounts that are ultimately received by the NATCA plaintiffs will be impacted by the calculation and recovery of attorney fees that has yet t o occur. To read the update from the law firm representing the NATCA plaintiffs (which contains their explanation of the calculation of damage amounts, a link to the 189 - page list of

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