Judge orders 3-day trial in overtime suit
Posted: February 7, 2013
The Winchester Star
HARRISONBURG — A judge has ordered a three-day jury trial in a lawsuit involving overtime pay for more than 50 current and former Frederick County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
The suit — filed by deputies April 16 in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg — alleges that Sheriff Robert Williamson, his office, the county and County Administrator John R. Riley Jr. did not adequately pay deputies for overtime hours worked.
U.S. District Judge Michael F. Urbanski on Monday entered an order for the trial to begin March 25.
The county has 121 full-time deputies. According to the lawsuit, they are governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) specific to law enforcement.
The FLSA generally requires employers to pay overtime to an employee who works more than 40 hours per week. Deputies are scheduled to work 160 hours during a 28-day work period, but localities can alter the work period for law enforcement employees to avoid paying overtime until an officer works more than 171 hours during a 28-day work period.
In 2005, Virginia officials amended state overtime laws to require sheriff’s departments employing 100 or more law enforcement employees to pay overtime for the difference between the regularly scheduled hours a deputy worked (160) and the federal maximum allowed (171) — referred to as “gap pay.”
“Despite recognizing that the law applied to the county at that time, the defendants still refused to comply with the gap-pay requirements until Jan. 1, 2012,” the suit states.
In addition to allegedly failing to pay overtime for the gap pay, the defendants also violated the requirements of FLSA and state law by altering employees’ time records, misappropriating hours and failing to pay compensatory time as overtime, according to the suit.
According to the suit, the deputies were repaid compensatory time at a straight rate instead of the state-required rate of 11⁄2 hours for each hour of overtime, the suit states.
— Contact Melissa Boughton at email@example.com