Union files grievance on behalf of trademark attorneys

Hundreds of trademark attorneys have have been forced to work overtime without pay over the past six years, according to a grievance filed Tuesday by the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU).

Trademark attorneys at the Patent and Trademark Office's Washington area headquarters are "induced, encouraged or expected" to work unpaid overtime in order to satisfy overly stringent production requirements, NTEU said in the grievance. Unpaid overtime work violates the Federal Employees Pay Act (FEPA), NTEU said.

Under the act, agencies must pay career employees outside of the Senior Executive Service overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week. The grievance, filed with PTO, asks for back pay with interest for approximately 500 current and former PTO attorneys.

The unpaid hours "result from employee efforts to fulfill the unreasonable performance standards by which they are evaluated, to manage heavy workloads and rigorous deadlines, and to satisfy management pressure to produce at accelerated goals," said NTEU President Colleen Kelley. "The object of this grievance is to right a clear wrong."

A spokeswoman for PTO said they had received the grievance and it was under review.

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