NYC DA employees weren't paid OT while working from home - lawsuit

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REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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  • Bronx case discovery analyst says she worked up to 73 hours without OT pay
  • During pandemic, analysts were required to complete a specific number of cases each week

(Reuters) - Case discovery analysts in New York City's district attorneys' office were forced to put in long hours while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, but were unlawfully deprived of overtime pay, according to a proposed collective action filed on Wednesday.

Elmore Murray, a discovery analyst in the Bronx DA's office, said in a complaint in Manhattan federal court that she worked up to 73 hours per week last year to complete her workload after she and other CDAs transitioned from eight-hour shifts to having to complete a specified number of cases each week.

CDAs complete worksheets concerning arrest information, draft affidavits by police officers and electronically file documents, among other duties, according to the complaint.

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Murray is represented by Levine & Blit.

The New York City Law Department and the Bronx DA's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Murray in the complaint said DAs' offices in the city began requiring discovery analysts to work from home in April 2020.

Instead of working set shifts, they were assigned between 10 and 15 cases to complete each week and were required to work when it was convenient for the police officers involved in the cases, according to the complaint.

That often meant working from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day and then several more hours at night, until as late at 3 a.m., according to the lawsuit.

CDAs were never paid an overtime premium despite the long hours, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, Murray alleged. The city also failed to keep accurate records of the hours CDAs worked, she said.

Murray said CDAs are eligible for overtime under the FLSA because they perform "repetitive, recurrent or routine work" and do not exercise discretion or independent judgment.

Murray is seeking to certify a citywide collective of CDAs. She is seeking unpaid wages and liquidated damages.

The case is Murray v. City of New York, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 1:21-cv-05835.

For Murray: Matthew Blit of Levine & Blit

For the city: Not available

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Dan Wiessner (@danwiessner) reports on labor and employment and immigration law, including litigation and policy making. He can be reached at daniel.wiessner@thomsonreuters.com.