(CN) – Airport screeners lost an overtime pay challenge in the Court of Federal Claims, which ruled that the Transportation Security Administration has “complete discretion” when setting wages.
TSA screeners get paid by the hour and receive a premium rate for working undesirable night shifts. TSA pays them one-and-half times their base pay for overtime hours, regardless of whether they worked regular or premium shifts.
Screeners claimed this violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.
TSA argued that a section of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act gives it complete discretion in setting pay, “notwithstanding any other provision of law.”
This phrase, the claims court ruled, blocks the screeners from suing under federal labor law.
“Congress’ intent to override conflicting provisions of law is made clear through the plain meaning of ‘notwithstanding,'” Judge Baskir wrote. The ATSA gives the TSA “wide discretion in employment decisions regarding security screeners and particularly with respect to setting compensation levels,” the judge added.
The court granted TSA’s motion to dismiss.