Recently, a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of federal employees who failed to receive hazardous duty pay and hazard overtime pay after working on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Government Executive, the lawsuit had been in legal limbo since March 2020 because a federal appeals court was considering a similar lawsuit.
Qualifying for the COVID hazard pay class action lawsuit requires the following:
- Worker must have been a federal employee during the COVID pandemic
- Worker must have been exposed to COVID while performing official job duties
- Worker must have a position that is eligible for hazard pay
- Worker must not have received hazard pay at any point during the period they were exposed to COVID
The statute of limitations for hazard pay claims is six years. Overtime claims have a statute of limitations of two to three years.
What Is Hazard Pay?
Hazard pay is additional compensation paid to employees who perform work in hazardous conditions and/or involving physical hardship. According to the United States Department of Labor, physical hardship, as it pertains to hazard pay, is defined as any work duty that involves enduring extreme physical distress and discomfort (it can also involve situations where employees are not provided with adequate protective gear).
Examples of job tasks where hazardous conditions and/or extreme physical hardship could result in hazard pay include:
- Working around people with contagious illnesses
- Work involving hazardous waste
- Working outdoors on tall buildings, such as washing windows on a skyscraper
- Work that deals with treating or counseling violent individuals
- Work that involves extreme physical discomfort, such as deep-sea fishing and logging
Who Qualifies for Hazard Pay?
If your job requires you to perform risky tasks or work in hazardous conditions, you may be able to qualify for hazard pay. During the COVID-19 pandemic, workers who performed jobs that would not normally qualify for hazard pay, qualified for it because they were considered essential workers, which meant their jobs still had to be performed even during a global pandemic.
Examples of essential employees who might have qualified for hazard pay during the COVID pandemic include the following:
- Security guards
- Grocery store employees
- Restaurant employees (cooks, servers, and delivery drivers)
- Customs officers
- Transportation workers (airplanes, trains, taxis, rideshare services, and buses)
- Bank employees
- Government workers
- Utility workers (trash, water, sewage, and recycling)
- Medical professionals (doctors, nurses, and pharmacists)
If you believe you are owed hazard pay and your employer has denied your request for it, you should speak to an experienced employment lawyer. If you work for a federal agency and you are denied hazard pay, you should discuss your situation with a federal employment attorney.
Denied Hazard Pay? Set Up a Confidential Consultation with an Experienced Federal Employment Lawyer Today!
During the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline workers nationwide stepped up and kept this country afloat when we needed it most. To find out that many were denied hazard pay that they earned and deserve is infuriating and unacceptable.
At Pines Federal, our federal employment lawyers have been fighting for the rights of workers nationwide over 20 years. Our firm focuses on providing legal representation for federal employees throughout the United States. Our attorneys are knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced. We understand how to handle a wide range of federal employment law-related issues, including MSPB representation, EEO cases, federal workers’ compensation, veterans’ affairs, and disability retirement representation.
Our clients are always our top priority. That is why we take the time to get to know them and understand their situations, so that we can better represent their interests. From day one, we protect our clients, and we fight for our clients.