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M&S Fights for Worker Protections for Federal Corrections Officers

In this issue of “Latest News,” we highlight the work of Mehri & Skalet attorneys, led by Partner Heidi Burakiewicz, on behalf of federal Bureau of Prison workers — for whom M&S has recovered more than $26 million dollars in 2015 alone, and secured legal victories on a number of fronts.

Among the highlights of the work, M&S has fought on behalf of employees to ensure that:

Bureau of Prison Employees are Paid for All Hours Worked

M&S has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of hardworking employees who performed work before and after their scheduled shifts and during their uncompensated meal breaks in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). M&S obtained a groundbreaking decision in AFGE Local 506 and USP2 Coleman, that employees should be paid FLSA overtime compensation for the time they are inside the prison because they have to remain alert and vigilant, obtained liquidated damages on behalf of employees who were paid late, and recovered $9,250,000 in AFGE Local 2585 and FCI Bennettsville – the largest recovery in Bureau of Prison’s history against a single institution.

Women Should Not Have to be Subject to Inmate Harassment When They Go to Work

In 2011, M&S filed the first class action alleging that the Bureau of Prisons is liable for failing to take steps to prevent inmate sexual harassment of women.The case was certified as a class action in 2014 on behalf of approximately 420 female employees and is the first sexual harassment case against the U.S. government to be certified as a class action.

The Bureau of Prisons Must Pay Employees at their Regular Hourly Rate for the Time Spent Taking Precautions as a Result of Privacy Act Violations

M&S has obtained decisions in AFGE Local 922 and FCC Forrest City and AFGE Local 3696 and FCC Butner that the Agency violated the Privacy Act when it failed to protect sensitive employee information and that it must pay as damages the value of the time the employees spent taking precautions to protect their credit and finances at their regular hourly rate.

Heidi Burakiewicz

Heidi joined Mehri & Skalet in 2010. She served as a co-chair for the Federal Service Labor and Employment Law committee, part of the American Bar Association’s, Labor and Employment Law Section from 2010 through 2015, and serves on the Advisory Council to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. She is a frequent speaker on labor and employment law issues. Other attorneys who work on the cases on behalf of BOP employees include Stephanie Bryant, Pia Winston and Robert DePriest.

Thanks so much for your work, Heidi!