Corrections Officer Entitled To Overtime For Medical Treatment

Towards the end of his shift, a corrections officer working for Broome County, New York was bitten by an inmate. The officer remained on site after the end of his shift, and obtained medical treatment for the injury. The officer later sought four hours of overtime for the time spent in receiving treatment.

An arbitrator upheld a grievance challenging the County’s denial of the request for overtime. The Arbitrator noted that while the contract did require overtime for time spent “working” beyond the regular work shift, the contract did not define what “work” was. The Arbitrator concluded that since the officer had been directed by his supervisors to go to a hospital for medical treatment, the time spent getting the treatment was work. The Arbitrator observed that “inasmuch as an employee is duty bound to carry out the orders of his supervisor (the more so in a sheriff’s unit) lest he commit insubordination, it is reasonable to conclude that in carrying out those orders the employee is performing for the benefit of the employer.”

Broome County, New York, 39 LAIG 6700 (Lawson, 2009).

This article appears in the September 2009 issue