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Civil action filed by former, current federal prison employees

October 27th, 2021 by WCBC Radio

The Cumberland Times News reports more than 170 current and former employees of the Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland have filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims seeking monetary damages, back pay and attorneys’ fees for alleged violations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 107-page complaint filed Monday by the Whitehead Law Firm in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, details alleged violations concerning each of the 174 plaintiffs in the legal action seeking hazardous duty pay, environmental differential pay and possible or actual exposure to the coronavirus during their employment at prison. An electronic copy of the court filing was provided Tuesday to the Times-News. The defendant is the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons. A Bureau of Prisons spokesperson declined to comment Wednesday. According to Donald Murphy of the Federal Bureau of Prisons Office of Public Affairs, "BOP does not comment on pending litigation or matters subject to legal proceedings."  The claim pertains to alleged violations of federal laws concerning the Back Pay Act and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act to remedy “the defendants willful and unlawful violations of law” as detailed in the filed claim.

The claim details there are about 1,200 inmates at the medium-security institution and its adjacent minimum security facility where there are 280 Bureau of Prisons correctional staff employed.