I am pleased to tell you that, on October 11, 2016, NTEU settled a national grievance with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) challenging HHS’ designation of Government Information Specialists (GIS) as exempt from the overtime protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the settlement, covered employees will be reclassified as nonexempt and will receive back pay and 100% liquidated damages for overtime worked since at least 2014.
The wrongful exemption of Government Information Specialists under the FLSA came to NTEU’s attention in March 2016 when NTEU was negotiating a settlement agreement on behalf of HHS Paralegal Specialists. NTEU learned that HHS had converted a significant number of Paralegal Specialists to Government Information Specialists, and, as a result, employees in the new Government Information Specialist position would not benefit from the settlement covering Paralegal Specialists. NTEU was not satisfied with this result, and it filed a new grievance to obtain the same benefits for Government Information Specialists.
NTEU’s recent settlement on behalf of Government Information Specialists is the fifth agreement since the union’s March 2012 National Grievance to require HHS to compensate employees who were improperly exempted from FLSA protection. With the addition of these Government Information Specialists, more than 700 HHS employees will receive relief solely because of NTEU’s efforts.
Note that many Legal Instrument Examiner positions are being replaced with Government Information Specialist positions upon attrition within our Chapter.
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