(CN) – Pantex, the final assembly point for all nuclear weapons in the United States, misclassified some of its employees to avoid paying them overtime, a federal judge in Texas ruled.
The Fair Labor Standards Act allows exemptions from overtime pay for supervisors and other workers in positions of power.
U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson found that Babcock & Wilcox Technical Services Pantex, known as Pantex, incorrectly applied the overtime exemption to lieutenants and captains responsible for maintaining fire safety and blocking unauthorized access to nuclear weapons, because none of these employees has much control over other workers.
Fire safety workers answer to the police chief, while protective force officers – including desk and administrative lieutenants and curriculum developers – answer to upper management, Robinson said.
She found that Pantex did not try hard enough to follow FLSA regulations and intimidated employees who questioned Pantex’s overtime exemptions.
Employees were allegedly told to “‘look in the mirror’ and ask yourself if you really wanted your job. If you did, you would not talk about (overtime pay).”
The judge concluded that Pantex must pay the plaintiffs “three years unpaid overtime compensation and an additional equal amount as liquidated damages.”