By DAVE GRAM
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - A federal judge has ruled that Vermont can try to assert it is immune from a lawsuit brought by more than 700 state employees.
The employees, ranging from social workers to foresters, sued in 2010, saying the state was paying their regular hourly rate when they worked more than 40 hours a week, when it should have been paying time-and-a-half.
The state said under oath in March it would not try to block the suit using sovereign immunity, a legal doctrine that makes it difficult for private citizens to sue the government. In June it reversed direction and said it would use sovereign immunity.
A federal judge in Burlington said Tuesday that he would consider the claim. That portion of the case is expected to play out in the fall.
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