NYPD Prohibited From Conducting IA Investigation Into Sergeants’ FLSA Testimony

A group of approximately 4300 current and former New York City police sergeants sued the City of New York claiming systematic violations of their overtime rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Because of the sheer volume of plaintiffs, the City and the Plaintiffs agreed in May of 2005 to limit depositions to “test plaintiffs” – individuals from 17 job categories, who would be organized into three groups. In…

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Repayment Of Training Costs Requirement Not An Illegal ‘Kickback’

The City of Oakland, California has a policy requiring police officers to repay a portion of their training costs if they voluntarily leave the City’s employment before completing five years of service. The policy, which is incorporated in the labor agreement between the City and the Oakland Police Officers’ Association, sets the cost of training at $8,000, and requires repayments that vary from 20% to 100% depending upon how…

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State Can Waive Immunity From FLSA Lawsuits

In Alden v. Maine, 527 U.S. 706 (1999), the Supreme Court held that Congress did not have the power to subject state governments to lawsuits under the FLSA by their employees, and that states have “sovereign immunity” against such lawsuits. In a lawsuit filed by sergeants working for the Oregon State Police, the Oregon Court of Appeals was required to decide whether a state could waive the immunity from…

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Canine Officer Entitled To Overtime Pay For Time Caring For Dog

Kristofer Lewallen began his duties as a canine officer for Scott County, Tennessee on July 1, 2006 when the Sheriff ordered him to pick up a black Labrador dog named “J.J.” The Sheriff told Lewallen to begin working with the dog and eventually J.J. would be trained as a narcotics detection dog. J.J. lived with Lewallen and Lewallen fed, trained and cared for him. Eventually Lewallen also needed to…

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New Controversy On Donning And Doffing

In Bamonte v. City of Mesa, 598 F.3d 1217 (9th Cir. 2010), a divided panel of the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the donning and doffing of police uniforms and equipment is not compensable work under the Fair Labor Standards Act unless the employer requires that the donning and doffing occur on the employer’s property. Perhaps presaging that more controversy over the issue awaits in the…

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FLSA Does Not Require Donning/Doffing Pay If Employer Permits Activity To Be Performed At Home

The first federal Court of Appeals decision on compensability of donning and doffing has been decided by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The case involved a claim brought by police officers working for the City of Mesa, Arizona. In a 2-1 decision, the Ninth Circuit held that if an employer permits the activity of donning and doffing to be performed at home, it need not compensate employees for…

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Under Eleventh Amendment, Trooper Has No Right To Sue State For USERRA Violations

One of the features of Supreme Court jurisprudence in the last decade has been the Court’s application of the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution to bar individual lawsuits by employees against state governments. The most important case in the area is Alden v. Maine, 527 U.S. 706 (1999), where the Court held that state employees could not bring Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawsuits against their employers…

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Failure To Turn In Time Slips Does Not Preclude FLSA Claim

William Woodman worked as a police officer with the Hazen, Arkansas Police Department from 1999 to 2008. Woodman was assigned police dog Arko. Woodman kept Arko at his residence when he was not working, and he was responsible for the care and training of Arko, which included feeding Arko twice each day, providing Arko with water, grooming and exercising Arko, and cleaning Arko’s kennel. Woodman filed suit against the…

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Employees Can Be Forced To Use Comp Time In Lieu Of Sick Leave

A group of corrections officers filed a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawsuit against the City of Atlanta, Georgia. One of the claims made by the officers was that the City forced them to use their compensatory time off instead of sick leave to cover their absences due to illness or injury. As the officers described it, the City’s policies stemmed from the fact that sick leave was forfeited…

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No Need For County To Consult CAD Records In FLSA Case

A group of police officers working for the Woodbury County, Iowa Sheriff’s Department filed a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawsuit against the employer. The suit sought damages for, among other things, work during meal times and before and after shifts. When a jury returned a verdict in the County’s favor, the officers appealed. The central issue on appeal was whether the trial judge made a mistake instructing the…

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Chicago Loses Major Comp Time Case

A federal court of appeals has ruled against the Chicago Police Department in a long-simmering case concerning the ability of public employees to use compensatory time off. At the heart of the Chicago dispute is whether an employee has a right to request a particular day on which to use compensatory time off, or whether the employer may disregard the employee’s request and grant another day “reasonably proximate” to…

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Air Marshals Entitled To Overtime Under FLSA

A group of 1,805 federal air marshals brought a lawsuit against the federal government, alleging that they were not paid overtime as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The air marshals routinely work specific workweeks of at least 50 hours. If air marshals annually average two unscheduled overtime hours per workday, they are entitled to a 25 percent bonus known as “availability pay.” The Government’s first defense…

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EMT Covered By FLSA Section 7(k) Exemption

Ernie Gonzalez was a firefighter/emergency medical technician with the City of Deerfield Beach, Florida from 1999 to 2005. All firefighters that the City employs are cross-trained either as paramedics or EMTs. There are no employees who are either solely firefighters, EMTs, or paramedics. As a result of this training, all employees can respond to any call where the City has the duty to respond, and all uniformed members of…

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