The U.S. Department of Labor issued this press release Tuesday:
After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), the Limestone County Sheriff’s Department – based in Athens, Alabama – will pay $49,968 in back wages to 126 employees for violations of the overtime and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
WHD found the Limestone County Sheriff’s Department failed to pay deputies for hours they worked when they were required to file warrants at the courthouse outside the hours of their scheduled shifts. In many instances, the courthouse was not open during officers’ regularly scheduled shifts, so visits to the facility necessarily occurred outside of their regular work hours. The Limestone County Sheriff’s Department failed to record this time or paid deputies for it.
WHD also found that the employer failed to pay employees for time they spent working at an annual fundraising event. Investigators determined that these hours worked by the employees did not meet the definition of “volunteer” work according to FLSA regulations when the sheriff’s department pressured employees into working at the event and took adverse disciplinary action toward any employee who refused to volunteer.
“The resolution of this case serves as a reminder for local, county, and state governments that they are subject to the FLSA’s requirements,” said Wage and Hour District Director Kenneth Stripling, in Birmingham, Alabama. “Employees have a right to be paid for all of the hours that they work, and cannot be forced to volunteer their time. We encourage all employers to make use of the many tools we provide to help them understand their responsibilities and operate in compliance with the law.”
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd.