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June 01, 2004
Washington State Settles Lawsuit over Work Time

The state of Washington has agreed to pay $7.2 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the state failed to pay prison guards and other state workers for the time they spent performing tasks before and after their shifts, the Associated press reports.

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The Corrections Department, attorney general's office, and Teamsters Local 117 negotiated the settlement during mediation, the news service notes. The agreement requires the state legislature's approval.

In settling the class-action lawsuit, the state admitted no wrongdoing, according to the news service.

The lawsuit alleged that workers were required to perform equipment checks, inventory, and other tasks during transitions from one shift to the next. The guards said they were unpaid for those periods, which typically lasted six to 12 minutes.

"It worked out pretty well when all three parties got together," says Lewis Ellsworth, an attorney representing 1,900 affected workers.

The settlement covers a four-year period.


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