The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has ordered the City of Highland Park, Michigan to pay four current city employees $49,181 in back wages and another $1,368 in penalties following an investigation into the city’s pay policies. The investigation found violations in the way the city counted hours worked for certain city employees. Specifically, four city employees that work as both firefighters and law enforcement officers were not paid overtime as required by the FLSA.
The FLSA requires employers pay employees for all hours worked in a workweek and/or work period. Additionally, the FLSA requires overtime be paid to non-exempt workers for all hours worked over the statutory maximum for each workweek/work period. As a general rule, these basic principles apply even if the employee works for two different departments within the same organization. According to the DOL, the City of Highland Park failed to combine the hours worked by four city employees that performed both law enforcement and fire protection activities in the same work period.
For example, if a city police officer also works part-time as a city firefighter, the hours worked in both capacities must be counted when determining that employee’s overtime eligibility for the work period. According to the DOL, this is the second time Highland Park has made the same mistake since 2011. Click here for more information.