Justices had been reviewing a request from the state to consider its appeal of an Iowa Supreme Court decision last year. The state court sided with state employees who claimed they deserved extra pay for extra work.
State officials claimed in court papers that they had a constitutional right to set their own personnel policies including a pay scale. The state was already having money troubles complying with earlier federal mandates, the Iowa lawyers claimed. It could face the $30 million overtime bill if it lost the case, Iowa officials said.
Worker attorney David H. Goldman said that Iowa is bound by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act to pay time and a half for work over 40 hours.
Public Safety Workers Sue
The overtime dispute has been fought out in court since 1994 when a group of Public Safety Department employees filed suit.
This case involves 22 Public Safety Department executive and administration employees, but the state is facing challenges from hundreds more people who worked in other agencies.
Supporting Iowa’s position at the high court were Indiana, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.
The case is Iowa v. Anthony.