COURT REVERSES FLRA ON CBP OVERTIME CAP
About 20 years ago FLRA ruled that the statutory cap on how much overtime compensation a Customs and Border Protection Officer may receive did not bar paying the employee more than that cap amount pursuant to an arbitration or grievance settlement. But the U.S. Court of Federal Claims just ruled to the contrary in a case two Customs and Border Protection (Border Patrol) Canine Officers hired private lawyers to pursue outside the collective bargaining process. This is terrible news for CBP officers. See Michael C. Bailey, et al. v. U.S., for the January 2019 decision.
The 1999 FLRA which upheld the right of grieving CBP Officers to receive more overtime pay than the cap allows, i.e., namely $35,000 a year, especially where a law, regulation of collective bargaining agreement had been violated. It pointed to an OPM regulation specifically exempting grievance and arbitration award amounts from the cap. The court, however, ignored the OPM regulation and went back to an Appropriations statutes of 2012-2015 to find that they had overruled and effectively rewritten the Fair Labor Standards Act as we well as COPRA, the special overtime law for CBP Officers. The judge, appointed to her position by President Trump, would not even allow the employees to be paid under the Appropriations Act exception which gave the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to pay above the cap in certain circumstances