(CN) – Federal air marshals are entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Court of Federal Claims ruled. The federal government argued that the marshals, who provide security on commercial airlines, are not covered under the FLSA, but instead by a separate personnel management system.
The government based its argument on a footnote in Brodowy v. United States, a 2006 case involving air traffic controllers.
“The footnote is not a ‘holding’ as defendant asserts,” Judge Futey ruled. “It does nothing more than rephrase a relevant section of the Federal Aviation Administration Revitalization Act.
“Congress could have specifically exempted federal air marshals from the FLSA,” the judge added. “Because Congress failed to do so, (federal air marshals) do not fall plainly or unmistakably within an exemption to the FLSA.”
Futey also ruled that the marshals’ “availability pay,” an additional two hours of work each day, is a 25 percent premium pay and does not count as overtime compensation.