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Monday, August 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Washington

Hanford fire captains say their paychecks have been shortchanged

By Annette Cary Tri-City Herald

A dozen current or former Hanford fire captains or platoon sergeants are suing their employer over pay.

Plaintiffs in the case say that Mission Support Alliance, the nuclear reservation contractor providing fire services, owes them overtime pay.

The lawsuit filed in federal court says that before 2016 they worked either 48 or 72 hours a week on shifts that included 24 hours on and then 24 off for five days, followed by four days off.

Starting in 2016 they worked 48 hours, followed by four days off, also giving them a 48- or 72-hour workweek.

They are asking the court to award them additional pay for hours they worked over 40 to bring that compensation to time and a half.

Without an accounting from Mission Support Alliance, the plaintiffs don’t know how much money they are owed, the lawsuit said.

In addition to asking for back pay, they are asking for damages equal to the back pay, interest and attorney fees.

Mission Support Alliance, owned by Leidos and Centerra Group, said in court documents the firefighters who have filed suit are salaried rather than hourly workers and are not owed overtime under the federal Fair Labors Standard Act.

They either perform executive or administrative work and also could qualify as exempt from the overtime law if they are paid more than $100,000 annually, according to Mission Support Alliance in court documents.

The firefighters filing suit were paid consistent with a union-negotiated collective bargaining agreement, the Department of Energy contractor said.

The firefighters’ union previously litigated a similar claim and lost, Mission Support Alliance said. But if there is a different outcome in this case, a two-year statute of limitations could apply, it said.

Mission Support Alliance is asking that the firefighters’ complaint be dismissed and that its attorney fees be paid by plaintiffs.

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