Virginia Police Officers File Lawsuit Over Uncompensated “Off-the-Clock” Work

Two Roanoke, Virginia, police officers have filed a federal lawsuit in the Western District of Virginia claiming the City of Roanoke failed to pay police officers for all hours worked in violation of the FLSA and other state laws. While the complaint was only filed by two officers, the suit seeks to add additional plaintiffs over the next several months. The officers’ claim the city fails to properly compensate police officers for time spent working before and after assigned shifts and has an unwritten policy discouraging officers from requesting payment for off-the-clock work.

Here is more on the story:

Off-the-clock work occurs when overtime eligible employees perform work without being paid. Employers have an obligation to pay employees for all the work they perform. Even work the employer does not request. Typical examples of off-the-clock work include:

• Employees answering and drafting work-related emails while not at work.
• Employees staying late following a normally scheduled work shift.
• Employees arriving early and beginning work before the official start of a work shift.

The prospect of tackling off-the-clock work may seem overwhelming for some employers, however with the proper knowledge and tools employers can easily minimize this potential liability. First, employers need understand and recognize the various types and root causes for off-the-clock claims. Second, employers need to develop policies and procedures dedicated to address off-the-clock work while minimizing potential liability from possible future claims. These policies should include at a minimum:

• Creating defined rules regarding which employees can authorize overtime.
• Maintaining and preserving accurate records related to hours worked.
• Instituting anti-retaliation and open-door complaint mechanisms regarding compensation practices for employees.

The examples cited above are just a few components necessary for any police or fire department to be prepared to combat potential off-the-clock claims.

Is your organization prepared?

Please consider joining us at one of the two remaining FLSA for Fire Departments seminars for 2018.

Providence, RI May 30-June 1, 2018

Mesa, AZ December 4-6, 2018

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