Officers Paid Two Overtime Minimums For Overlapping Court Appearances

The collective bargaining agreement between the City of Oak Park, Michigan and the Police Officers Association of Michigan provides that officers appearing in court while off duty are entitled to a minimum compensation of two hours at the overtime rate. Four police officers sought multiple two-hour minimum payments when they attended more than one court appearance in the same two-hour block of time. When the City denied the overtime request, the Association challenged the City’s decision in arbitration.

An arbitrator sided with the Association. The Arbitrator concluded that the contract meant that whenever an officer is required to appear in court, was excused from the court appearance, and then required to appear for a different court matter, the officer was entitled to two court overtime minimums even though the second court appearance might overlap the first two-hour period of time. The Arbitrator relied on a past practice established by the testimony of two officers who received overlapping payments as many as seven times. Though the City contended the past practice was created in error, the Arbitrator believed that the practice was no less binding.

City of Oak Park, Michigan, LAIG 6354 (Beitner, 2006).

This article appears in the August 2006 issue