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Evaluation of Alleged AUO Misuse by U.S. Border Patrol Agents Engaged as CrossFit Instructors

Executive Summary

We conducted this evaluation in response to a whistleblower disclosure concerning employees in the U.S. Border Patrol’s (USBP) El Centro Sector Headquarters in El Centro, California. The whistleblower alleged that Border Patrol agents detailed to the El Centro Sector Headquarters as CrossFit instructors claim administratively uncontrollable overtime (AUO), but fail to perform duties that qualify for AUO. Border Patrol agents also serve as CrossFit instructors in seven other Border Patrol sector headquarters. Federal regulations allow agencies to pay AUO annually to employees in positions that require substantial amounts of irregular or occasional overtime work and in which the hours of duty cannot be controlled administratively. Employees must remain on duty not merely because it is desirable, but because of compelling reasons inherently related to continuance of their duties, and of such a nature that failure to carry on would constitute negligence. CrossFit is a fitness program that employs endurance and fast-switch strength movements as a form of physical conditioning. Eight USBP sectors include CrossFit classes in their physical fitness programs. Six of the eight sectors paid AUO to Border Patrol agents engaged as CrossFit instructors. AUO paid to Border Patrol agents for CrossFit instruction and related activities, such as gym maintenance and class preparation, was inconsistent with Federal AUO regulations. The hours of duty for CrossFit instruction and related activities could have been controlled administratively. In addition, CrossFit duties were not so compelling that failure to complete those duties would have constituted negligence. USBP discontinued AUO payments for CrossFit instruction and related activities in January 2014.

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