On August 3, 2017, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court ruling that denied over 50 Chicago police officers overtime pay for “off-the-clock” work. These plaintiffs were current and former members of the Chicago Police Department’s Bureau of Organized Crime. The officers filed suit several years ago seeking compensation for time spent conducting police work on department issued “mobile electronic devices” (blackberries) while off-duty. The district court issued judgement in favor of the police department and the police officers appealed. The Court of Appeals upheld the district court’s decision.
While not a fire department related FLSA suit, this decision could certainly influence current and future “off-the-clock” claims for the fire service.
The court found the police officers were performing work on their blackberries while off-duty and should be paid for it. However, the court also found:
- CPD had a clear and reasonable policy that allowed police officers to submit time slips for work performed off-duty.
- Police officers could not prove the city had an “unwritten policy” that discouraged officers from submitting time slips for off-duty work.
- Police officers could not prove supervisors were aware officers were not submitting time slips for off-duty work.
While the long term implications from this case are unclear, it solidifies the concept that FLSA liability for off-the-clock claims can be minimized with proper policies and procedures.
Here is a copy of the decision.