Wage and hour disputes bring correctional officers to court

Sometimes employees need to step in and take on more work if workloads increase or staffing decreases. In some Tennessee industries, employees are scheduled for mandatory overtime and compensated beyond their usual hourly rate. Other businesses may ask for volunteers to work extra shifts for more pay. However, if employees are forced into hours beyond a full work week and receive no extra pay, they may be within their rights to file wage and hour disputes.

Recently in another state, a correctional facility faced staff shortages that compelled detention center supervisors to mandate 30 to 60 minutes of overtime per shift. Five of the correctional officers forced into this overtime say the county did not compensate them for the extra hours. They took their complaint to state courts, but the state transferred the lawsuit to federal court because federal wage laws were allegedly violated.

Apparently, the county has violated wage laws in the past by failing to compensate correctional officers for overtime. A previous lawsuit resulted in county officials agreeing to paying time-and-a-half for workers exceeding a 40-hour work week. The current lawsuit may be settled soon because the county has authorized a settlement offer of $13,500.

Workers in Tennessee who do not receive fair pay for working overtime have the right to seek justice. Federal law prohibits employers from taking advantage of their workers in this manner. Those who have wage and hour disputes can find answers to their questions regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act and their options for claiming their just pay by contacting an attorney.

Source: postandcourier.com, "Berkeley council OKs settlement for detention officers' OT", Brenda Rindge, April 11, 2017

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