Remember that nice career State Department employee you met at a party a few years ago? Do you find yourself in need of a loan? Well, might be time to renew that close friendship.

Seems the first checks are going out Tuesday night in Greenbelt to some 4,400 State Department employees who won a $39.9 million settlement in October over claims that the department had improperly designated them as exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act. (The law says employees required to work overtime must be properly compensated.)

Five employees are going to be receiving checks of more than $100,000 each, according to Anthony Bishop, first vice president at State’s American Federation of Government Employees local 1534.

About 1,000 folks will be getting this round of checks, Bishop said, with the remaining checks to be doled out over the next 45 days.

The union filed a grievance over the issue back in May 2006 and the settlement was reached in October.