Airport workers file lawsuit

Airport workers file lawsuit

By Joe Baker

By Joe Baker

Senior Editor

A group of present and former employees of Greater Rockford Airport have gone to court in an effort to settle a dispute over back pay.

Some 25 individuals have filed a lawsuit in federal district court seeking an unspecified amount of money. The plaintiffs claim they have not gotten full overtime pay since 1995.

Ten women in the security department, including former employees, also argue that they were the objects of discrimination because they were paid less than male workers.

The group’s lawsuit asks for monetary damages and injunctive relief. They hope to persuade the court to order policy changes

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where wages are concerned.

The attorney representing the workers, Rene Hernandez of Belvidere, said the practice has gone on at the airport for several years and violates the federal Fair Labor Standards and Equal Pay acts.

Plaintiffs believe they may have up to $1 million coming to them.

Airport Director James Loomis said it’s all news to him. He said the policy and pay system was in place when he was hired and has not changed. He said he plans an audit of payroll records to see if discrepancies exist.

Hernandez said airport management classifies security personnel as police officers or firefighters, who are governed by federal rules. He said the airport management can call the workers whatever it likes but cannot use that as justification for cutting their pay.

The attorney said no court date has been set as yet. The airport has 20 days to respond to the complaint. The matter will first go before U.S. Magistrate Judge P. Michael Mahoney and then will be set for trial.

“We are very confident we are going to prevail,” Hernandez said.

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