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Ruling cuts $42M award for state workers seeking back pay

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The Indiana Court of Appeals issued a ruling Friday that will force a trial court to reduce a $42.4 million award handed down last year to state employees who alleged they were owed back pay by roughly half.

The long-delayed 1993 suit was filed by state employees who were required to work 40 hours a week while others received the same salary for working 37.5 hours a week. The inconsistent policy was abolished about two months after the case was filed.

Marion Superior Judge John Hanley last year awarded the $42.4 million judgment to 12,000 or more past and present state employees who’d fought to recover back pay for unequal wages earned over two decades.

But the appeals court said the court must recalculate damages for union workers based on only the approximately two-month period between when the case was brought in July 1993 and when the state abolished the split-class system that fall.

The court concluded those employees were not eligible for back pay for a longer period because they had not complied with a statute requiring that they bring workplace grievances within 10 days after they arise. That time limitation did not apply to non-union workers, who still are entitled to about $18 million.

 

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