July 23 (UPI) — Employees from federal agencies including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection and the Transport Security Administration joined a class-action lawsuit seeking hazard pay for work conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lawsuit states that the Trump administration violated the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act by not providing employees with hazard pay equal to at least 25% of their wages for working in close proximity to “virulent biologicals.”
The suit was originally filed in March on behalf of employees within the Bureau of Prisons, Agriculture Department and Department of Veterans Affairs.
Attorneys on Thursday added employees from nine new federal agencies to the suit.
The lawsuit states that the plaintiffs worked in close proximity to objects, surfaces, and other employees infected with COVID-19 without sufficient protective devices.
“Exposure to COVID-19 was not taken into account in the classification of the plaintiff’s positions,” it reads.
Heidi Burakiewicz, an attorney representing the employees, told The Washington Post that federal employees have been greatly impacted by the virus.
“This is hitting the federal workforce harder and harder. The federal government doesn’t seem to have learned from mistakes in the past or improved at all to save people’s lives,” Burakiewicz said.