Legal Briefs: Lunch money

Every Friday on, Legal Briefs reviews cases that involve, or provide valuable lessons to, federal managers. We report on the decisions of a wide range of review panels, including the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Federal Labor Relations Authority and federal courts.

After the Air Force stripped employees of their 20-minute paid on-the-job lunch period, an arbitrator ordered the department to reinstate the paid breaks and compensate affected employees with overtime pay.

On appeal, the Federal Labor Relations Authority said the pay award must be set aside, and remanded the case to the arbitrator to determine an appropriate remedy.

The FLRA's reasoning behind nixing compensation was that paying the complainants overtime implied they had worked beyond their usual eight-hour workday. According to the FLRA, under the Fair Labor Standards Act time set aside for eating does not fall under the category of additional work time, unless it involves tasks "controlled or required by the employer and pursued necessarily and primarily for the benefit of the employer."

The FLRA said the arbitrator's award also violated the Back Pay Act, noting that the complainants were paid for an eight-hour workday, regardless of whether their lunch period was paid or unpaid.

DoD, Air Force, Travis AFB and AFGE, Local 1764, FLRA (100 FLRR 1-1106), June 16, 2000

Certification vs. Verfication

According to an agreement between the American Federation of Government Employees and the Air Force, union representatives were required to have their time and attendance forms verified and signed by the union president or a designee.

The Air Force filed a grievance with an arbitrator alleging that certain AFGE representatives were verifying their own time and attendance sheets, violating the agreement. The arbitrator found in favor of the Air Force, noting that certifying one's own T&A sheet was improper and violated the parties' agreement.

AFGE appealed to the Federal Labor Relations Authority on the grounds that the arbitrator's decision was based on Defense Department regulations pertaining to certification, not verification. The FLRA upheld the arbitrator's decision, noting that he used the two terms interchangeably in his final analysis.

DoD, Air Force, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson AFB and AFGE, FLRA (100 FLRR 1-1107), June 19, 2000

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.