CLEVELAND, OH — A Cleveland police officer said in a lawsuit that city officials refused to pay time-and-a-half for overtime hours that he and other officers worked, and instead forced them to bank those hours.
Jeffrey Kozma, a 20-year veteran officer, said he typically works more than 40 hours a week. But city officials required him and other officers to take “compensatory time off” even if they’d already accrued more than 480 hours of comp time, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Cleveland.
The Fair Labor Standards Act says police officers, along with firefighters and emergency medical personnel, are not allowed to bank more than 480 hours of compensatory time. Kozma has accrued more than 1,000 hours of compensatory time, the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit, filed by the Nilges Draher law firm, was filed as a “collective action,” meaning Kozma is seeking to bring claims against the city on behalf of himself and others for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. It seeks money for unpaid overtime, damages, attorneys’ fees and costs.
Kozma is a patrol officer in the Fifth District who is on medical leave, police spokeswoman Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia said in an email.
Ciaccia said the city does not comment on ongoing litigation.
The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver Jr.