Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs employees sue state

Employees sue state Veterans Affairs department
Arkansas Times
Posted by Leslie Newell Peacock
Jun 17, 2013

Employees and former employees of the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs have filed suit in Pulaski County Circuit Court alleging wage and hour violations at the now-closed Little Rock Veterans Home and the incident-plagued Fayetteville Veterans Home.

The numbers of people in the class could exceed 50, lawyer John Holleman said today. Holleman represents named plaintiffs Darlene Okeke, Debra Jackson, Rita Culberson, Patricia Burton, Sandra Stewart, Linda Hopkins and Peggy Johnson in the suit against ADVA. Their complaint, filed June 18 in Pulaski County Circuit Court, makes several allegations: That they were required to work off the clock and then falsify records to indicate they had not, were not always allowed to take promised compensatory time, and that comp time was awarded on an hour per hour basis rather than the hour and a half that is the rate of pay for overtime.

The complaint says the “policy of failing to compensate Plaintiffs for all hours worked” had been in place for more than three years and “is continuing and ongoing.” Plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages equal to the unpaid back wages at the overtime rates as well going back three years as well as “liquidated damages” (back pay).

Holleman said one of the plaintiffs, for example, had accumulated 400 hours of comp time but was not allowed to take a day off to go to her child’s wedding. Management was also deducting a half hour from pay for lunch, he said, though employees had to work through lunch to get their jobs done. He said the facilities were understaffed and “mismanaged.”
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