The City of Mobile, Alabama has reached a settlement with three police officers assigned to the city’s K9 division following an FLSA lawsuit over unpaid worktime. The three claimed the city failed to compensate them for some “off-the-clock” work necessary to care for their assigned K9s.
The FLSA and Department of Labor regulations require employers compensate overtime eligible employees for all “hours worked.” This includes time spent by employees “on-duty” and on the “employer’s premises or any other prescribed place of work.” However, an employee’s workday does not necessarily end when his or her shift does. Under the FLSA, time spent working after-hours or off the employer’s premises is also compensable worktime. This is the even the case when the employer does not request the work be performed. Anytime an employee is “suffered or permitted” to work is compensable worktime under the FLSA.
The settlement requires the city pay a total of $187,790.14 in backpay and liquidated damages to the three officers and an additional $32,500 to the attorneys that represented the officers. In addition to the lump-sum backpay and damages listed above, the city reached an agreement with the K9 officers to compensate them moving forward for the off-duty care of their four-legged partners. According to the settlement agreement, the city agrees to pay K9 officers one additional hour of pay each workday, as compensation for work related off-the-clock activities associated with their assigned K9.
Here is more on the officer’s complaint from FirefighterOvertime last summer and a copy of the settlement order.