ALBANY, N.Y. – Pat Freund has a job most people would envy. She spends her days at work reading the newspaper and finishing crossword puzzles, and earns about $100,000 a year for her troubles, including benefits.
But Freund isn't content to put up her feet and watch the paychecks roll in. Rather, she is suing her employer, the state of New York, for not giving her any real work to do.
"It could have been a lot easier for Pat had she continued to sit in her office and do nothing, and continue to basically be the most avid reader that the state has employed," says Sue Adler, the attorney representing Freund in her federal civil rights lawsuit. "But she decided that was not how she wanted to live out her years working for the state."
Freund, who has been a New York State Liquor Authority (search) employee for 25 years, says it all started in 2000. She believes her superiors were angered after she questioned the practice of colleagues attending Gov. George Pataki's (search) annual prayer breakfast. But instead of firing her, Freund says, her responsibilities were taken away.
Now Freund does nothing at work, on the taxpayers' dime.
Mike Causey (search) of Federal News Radio has examined government employment issues for more than 20 years, and says the same protections that make it difficult to fire government workers sometimes backfire.
"People say that they're [employers] either trying to drive them out one way or the other, and one of the ways to do it is to give them nothing to do," Causey says.
When asked about the lawsuit, the Liquor Authority said it was policy not to comment on pending litigation. So until a trial, Freund will most likely continue to do nothing at work.
Click on the video box above for a complete report by FOX News' Rebecca Gomez.