Humphreys County, Tennessee is the latest public employer to face an FLSA lawsuit filed by its employees. A group of six current and former workers from the county’s sheriff’s office filed the lawsuit on behalf of themselves and other similarly situated individuals in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on October 31, 2022.
The plaintiffs, four deputy sheriffs, one dispatcher, and one jailer all claim that the county’s method of calculating their regular rate results “in an underpayment for overtime hours worked.” Additionally, the plaintiffs allege that beginning in January 2021, the county changed several payroll policies and procedures which resulted in the failure to pay them for all hours worked during the time period of these changes.
Allegations of employers miscalculating an employee’s regular rate of pay are commonplace today. However, legal claims associated with a change in an employee’s work period and/or pay period is a bit unique.
Here, the plaintiffs allege that the county changed the start and end of their established 7-day workweek without properly calculating any additional overtime owed as a result of the change. The plaintiffs also allege that the county changed its established work period, presumably for some of the plaintiffs, from 15 days to 14 days without taking into consideration any additional overtime that may have resulted from such a change. It appears as if the back wages owed from these changes are limited to several workweeks and work periods around December 2020, and January 2021.
Needless to say, we will be watching this case as it develops. Here is a copy of the complaint.
Here is more on the importance of “properly” establishing a work period under the FLSA.