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Hours equity: The next frontier of wage and hour lawsuits?

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

A class-action lawsuit by 15,000 Indiana state government employees has gone forward to determine whether several state agencies and institutions paid workers unequally by allowing some to work 37.5-hour weeks while others had to work 40-hour weeks.

The lawsuit, which seeks $42 million in back pay, alleges that the disparity in working hours dates back to 1973.

It also relies on a 1987 mandate from the state personnel director that required all employees at certain state institutions to work 40-hour weeks with no pay increase, while full-time workers in comparable jobs at other institutions received equal pay for 37.5 hours per week. Affected employees had to either cut their lunch hours or extend their workdays to comply.

In response to an earlier lawsuit, the state instituted a uniform full-time week of 37.5 hours in 1993. But the state failed to make back compensation to thousands of affected workers, the present lawsuit alleges.

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