Equal pay lawsuit heads to trial

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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A $42 million class action lawsuit involving Indiana state employees is scheduled to go to trial Aug. 19 in Marion Superior Court. The lawsuit was brought by state employees who worked more hours than other state employees in comparable jobs.

In Paula Brattain, et al. v. Richmond State Hospital, et al., No. 49D11-0108-CP-1309, the class seeks compensation from the state for an estimated 15,000 state employees who were required to work a 40-hour week while some employees in similar positions at state offices and institutions received comparable pay for working 37 1/2 hours a week.

According to the complaint filed in February 2002, the State Personnel Director issued a memorandum mandating all employees at certain state institutions were to work 40 hours a week while other employees at certain state offices were to work 37 1/2 hours per week. The plaintiffs allege the difference in working hours lowers the plaintiffs' effective hourly wage in comparison to the employees working less hours, and the plaintiffs' overtime pay is reduced.

The pay disparity existed as early as 1973 and lasted until 1993, when the state corrected the pay disparity and directed all salaries for full-time employees to be based on the 37 1/2 hour week. Because the state didn't offer compensation for those employees who worked 40 hour weeks before 1993, the plaintiffs filed their complaint.

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