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AAFES to pay $3.8 million to settle post allowance claims

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A federal court has granted preliminary approval for a $3.8 million fund to settle claims that some Army and Air Force Exchange Service employees were denied post allowances while working at overseas bases.

The class-action settlement applies to part-time AAFES employees hired after September 2003 who worked full-time hours but did not receive the post allowance they were entitled to under federal law.

Post allowance is a payment granted to federal workers that offsets the additional cost of living overseas. It varies based on location and other factors, but often means hundreds of dollars added to workers’ biweekly paychecks.

The original suit was filed in 2009 by Kenneth J. Shreeve, who at the time worked as a stocker at the Ramstein Air Base main base exchange.

“Shreeve raised with his employer his entitlement to Post Allowance as a full-time worker, and immediately thereafter had his hours reduced to less than 35 hours per week,” according to the 2009 complaint.

Shreeve will receive an additional $10,000 for serving as class representative in the lawsuit, if the court finalizes the settlement. The attorneys who filed suit are seeking final approval to collect one-third of the total settlement amount in fees.

The settlement terms do not constitute an admission of guilt or liability by AAFES, which operated more than 3,100 facilities worldwide and generated $8.75 billion in revenue during fiscal 2010, according to annual reports.

Former and current employees wishing to join the lawsuit must be U.S. citizens who worked more than 70 hours for 24 out of 26 annual pay periods, and did not receive post allowance. Employees hired both in the United States and locally are eligible. Further instructions are available at http://aafespostallowancesettlement.com.

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“Anyone who feels they qualify for remuneration can contact the settlement administrator,” said AAFES spokesman Judd Anstey in an email statement.

Those who join the class-action suit forfeit their right to settle claims separately, according to the settlement website.

After approval, claimants will be paid 80 percent of what they should have been paid, without interest, according to the settlement website. If there are too many claims to pay out, then the payments will be prorated, according to the settlement website.

The deadline to submit a claim is Dec. 26.

slavine@pstripes.osd.mil

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