AAFES Reaches $4 Million Employee Settlement


Current and former Army and Air Force Exchange Service employees could be entitled to a cash payout thanks to a class-action lawsuit recently settled between the company and two former workers.

The $4 million settlement, reached in early December, affects AAFES employees who worked or were scheduled for non-overtime shifts primarily between 3 p.m. and 8 a.m. from Nov. 1, 2008, to April 22, 2016, but did not receive correct pay, according to court documents.

At issue is a pay rate rule known as "shift differential." According to federal pay rules, employees who work second and third shift are entitled to 7.5 percent and 10 percent additional premium pay, respectively. But a government contractor payroll error resulted in inaccurate paychecks. And when employees left the company, the error decreased the value of any payout for accrued leave.

Former and current AAFES workers who qualify for the settlement were notified by mail, according to court documents. Employees have until May 30 to file a claim. If an employee thinks they may qualify but did not receive the notice, they can apply on the settlement website.

Under terms of the settlement, employees will likely be paid 100 percent of what they are owed due to the error. If the $4 million settlement does not cover everyone who applies, the payout will be split proportionally among the applicants, the documents state.

The lawsuit was brought by Andrew Russell and Ruth Gallego, AAFES employees who worked at the Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, exchange. If approved by the court, each will receive an additional $5,000 as part of the settlement "to compensate for their time and effort and for the risks incurred in serving as the Class Representatives in this litigation," according to documents.

-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at amy.bushatz@military.com.

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