Jul 30, 2014

Information About Langley v. United States, the FBI New Agent Trainee Case

Langley v. United States, case #10-512, was filed in the United States Court of Federal Claims. The case is a collective action for overtime pay arising out of FBI new agent training.

The plaintiff in this case, Alton Langley, has filed suit against the United States alleging that the FBI violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act in requiring agents in training to work more than 40 hours per week while in training at Quantico and not paying them for that work. Mr. Langley asserts that each individual involved in FBI new agent training between August 4, 2007 and March 12, 2011, has a claim for the FBI's failure to pay overtime for hours above 40 a week those individuals worked during their new agent training period. Information about the case and a copy of the materials mailed to each individual involved in new agent training during this time frame are on this website as PDF documents at the following links:

Complaint
Notice of Collective Action and Opportunity to Join
Consent to Sue
Claim Form

Updated Case Information 4/17/12

We continue to work with the U.S. Attorneys representing the FBI to ensure that notice of the class action is sent out to all individuals who went through agent training between August 2007 and the Spring of 2011. A number of individuals to whom notice was sent with the original mailings late last year had undeliverable mail that was returned to us. The FBI has provided additional, updated addresses to us and we have mailed new notices out and are waiting for responses from that group of new agents.

Copies of the claim forms we received from individuals who opted in have been sent to the FBI for their review. We are also organizing the information we have received from the returned claim forms. We anticipate that we will begin substantive discussions about resolution of the case with theU.S. Attorneys office within the next 60-90 days.

Basic information about the case is available in the documents at these four links. Additional frequently asked questions include:

Updated Case Information:
It has come to my attention that misinformation is circulating within the FBI regarding the New Agent Overtime case, Langley v. U.S.  This update addresses several specific issues that have been reported to me by several agents who have opted into this case.

First, many agents are under the impression that this case deals only with overtime pay for new agents who failed the PT test at Quantico.  This is false.  This case will provide overtime pay to every new agent who went through training between August, 2007, and March, 2011.  Some agents were required to participate in "Power PT" and they will receive some overtime pay for that.  But every agent was required to put in significant overtime regardless of whether or not they did Power PT.  All agents who opt in will, in all likelihood, recover thousands of dollars in overtime pay from their training period at Quantico.

Second, an email that was circulated in one field office stated that the FBI's HR department contends that the FBI is exmpt from suit under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the statute under which this case is brought.  This is false.  There is no legal authority under which the FBI is exempt from overtime pay and the FBI has not asserted in this lawsuit that it is exempt from overtime pay.

Third, concern has been expressed that a breach of security occurred when this office sent notices about this case to the home addresses of new agent trainees.  Those home addresses were provided to this office by the FBI and the Department of Justice.  The letters were sent with the knowledge and consent of the FBI and the Department of Justice.  After agents expressed concern to this office about the home addresses of agents being in my possession, I suggested to the Assistant U.S. Attorney representing the FBI and the United States that we put together a protective order to address reasonable concerns about protecting from disclosure information about the agent's home addresses.  That protective order has been entered by the court.

Fourth, some agents were concerend about the fact that the letter that my office sent to the agents had a stamp on it that said "ATTN: overtime pay arising out of new agent training."  That language did not reveal that the individual to whom the letter was addressed was an FBI agent.  Individuals outside the FBI are very unlikely to associate use of he word "agent" in the context of the stamp on the letter with the FBI.  There are many ways in which people act as "agents" in various capacities.  For example, a reference to "agent" is more likely to refer to an insurance agent, a real estate agent, or a securities agent than associate the term with the FBI.  More important, the only individuals who saw the stamp were employees of the U.S. Postal Service. The reference to "agent" in the stamp on the letter was not provided to the public in any way.

Fifth, there were concerns about the integrity of my office in connection with this contact information for the agents.  One email ciruclated within the FBI said "what is to keep King from selling that information or just posting it on the internet?"  This concern is groundless. There is absolutely no basis to think that I would knowingly disclose information about the identity of FBI agents to the general public.  If such action occurred I would, rightly, be disciplined and perhaps lose my license to practice law.  As a member of the Utah State Bar and an elected member of the Utah State House of Representatives, I am committed to maintaining the highest ethical standards to ensure the best outcome for my clients in this case and the public at large.

Finally, the email that provided the misinformation about the FBI being exempt from the FLSA's requirement to pay overtime stated, "hopefully the case will die."  I am puzzled by this statement.  This case will eventually be resolved through settlement or decision by the court.  But for FBI agents committed to seeing that federal law is enforced to hope that the FBI continues to be shielded from accountability for its own violations of federal law is inconsistent at best.

Question: If I join in this case and Mr. Langley is successful, how much money will I receive?
Answer: There is not a set amount each person will recover. It depends on the number of hours above and beyond 40 hours per week you worked. It also depends on how much the Court approves as the amount the new agent trainees are entitled to receive. However, we will be asking the Court to award time and a half for all hours above and beyond a 40 hour work week and an additional time and a half amount as called for under the FLSA to provide "liquidated damages" to each new agent trainee. As an example, if your hourly rate was $25 per hour and you demonstrate that you worked 50 hours overtime during training period, we will seek a Court award of $3,750 for you. We will also be asking the court to award attorney fees for those who opt into the case. There is no guarantee the Court will award the amount the plaintiffs are asking for or any amount at all. But we believe that, under the facts of this case, the Court will likely award three times the hourly rate for each overtime hour you demonstrate you work and will award some attorney fees above and beyond that.



•Question: What information do you need from me to prove how much overtime I worked?
Answer: The FBI has quite a bit of information about how much time you worked above and beyond a 40 hour work week. For example, all online internet training you put in on your own time outside the 40 hour workweek was recorded by the FBI. Likewise, the FBI has records of who took power PT as part of its internal administration of FBI new agent training. However, there are other components of new agent training, such as "red handle" training, that were not recorded by the FBI but that new agent trainees worked, sometimes putting in substantial hours. Other examples of overtime work that the FBI may not have kept record of include such things as field trips, enrichment nights, first aid/CPR classes, homework assignments such as drafting operations plans, practicing defensive techniques, meeting in small groups to prepare for various team assignments, filling out required paperwork or attending after hours presentations or seminars that related to being prepared to be certified as a new agent.



•Question: What is the time frame for getting the case resolved?
Answer: We should have the initial statements from all new agent trainees that will allow us to begin discussions with the Department of Justice by the end of the year. If we are successful in those negotiations, we expect we will be in a position to distribute funds to FBI new agent trainees in 2012. If we are not successful in our negotiations, we will present our claims to the federal district court judge and seek a favorable ruling as quickly as possible. Of course, in a worst case scenario, there will be no recovery. In that event, no FBI new agent trainee will owe any attorney fees or costs for our time.



•Question: Can the FBI retaliate against me if I join the lawsuit?
Answer: No. Federal law is very clear in prohibiting any retaliatory action against any individual who joins this case.



•Question: If I want to join in asserting a claim in this case, what do I have to do?
Answer: You must fill out the "Claim Form" and "Consent To Sue" forms mailed to you and return them to my office no later than December 30, 2011. If you were an FBI new agent trainee between August 4, 2007 and March 12, 2011, and did not receive these documents in the mail or you have lost or misplaced them, print out the PDF documents at the links listed above, fill out the documents and return them to me by no later than December 30, 2011. If you fail to fill out the forms and send them to me before that date, you will not be included in the collective action. In that case, in order to recover any funds based on the FBI's failure to pay overtime for hours worked by new agent trainees, you will have to hire your own attorney to pursue that claim for you.



•Question: Am I free to contact you anytime without being charged a fee for your time?
Answer: Yes, anytime. If I am not available one of my staff will help you, respond to your email or return your call promptly.





• Question: How did you obtain my contact information?
Answer: The Department of Justice sent us information they obtained from the FBI.  The DOJ gave us the last known address of all the new agent trainees from August 2007 through March of 2011.  The only contact agents will have from this office is the initial letter that was sent from to them the last week of October 2011.  After December 30, 2011 we will destroy all contact information for agents that do not opt in to the case.




• Question:
What if I've lost, misplaced or did not receive the initial packet of material that you sent out?
Answer: Simply click on the links below:                                

o   Consent to Sue

o   Claim Form
Print the forms out and return them by December 30, 2011 to:

The Law Office of Brian S. King
336 South 300 East, Suite 200
Salt Lake City, UT 84111