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DEA Investigators Lose Bid for Commute Pay

(CN) - Investigators with the Drug Enforcement Administration are not entitled to overtime pay for driving to and from work, the Court of Federal Claims ruled. An amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act, called the Portal-to-Portal Act, exempts an employer from having to pay for employee commutes.

The court upheld the Federal Circuit's determination that the amendment does not justify compensation for driving time when the work performed during the commute is minimal.

Judge Williams cited a previous ruling in which federal law enforcement officers - who carried guns in their vehicles - failed to overcome the amendment's restriction on overtime pay for commutes.

"Plaintiffs here simply drive government vehicles to non-government facilities to perform their field work upon arrival, and after completing their work, drive home," Williams wrote. "[T]hey are not required during their commutes to respond to emergency calls, carry weapons, or monitor their vehicles' communications equipment."

The court granted partial summary judgment to the defendants.

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