3 former Richmond Sheriff’s deputies file overtime suit

Posted at 2:59 PM, Nov 05, 2011

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Three former Richmond Sheriff’s deputies have filed a lawsuit accusing Sheriff C. T. Woody of violating both federal and state law regarding overtime pay.

The 18-page suit claims the deputies were required to report to work 15 minutes before their shift, attend monthly training meetings, make court appearances on their days off and deliver documents after their shift ends.

Under federal law, deputies cannot work more than 171 hours in a four-week period.  Additionally, state law says deputies working 40-hour workweeks must be paid time-and-a-half after reaching 160 hours.

The deputies are seeking back pay, a penalty of double that amount and attorney’s fees.

“Many of our clients are just frustrated over the fact that nothing’s happened without having to resort to the courts,” said attorney Harris Butler.

Butler said his clients allegedly worked without any extra pay while they worked within the Richmond Sheriff’s office for varying periods between 1988 and 2010.

“What happens is that the mid-level supervisors are reluctant to go to the folks that do the budgets that say we really haven’t budgeted enough for what we’re asking our folks to do,” said Butler.  “And what happens is the deputies in this case end up getting the short end of the stick.”

While the law is clear, Butler said these cases could be difficult, when you are trying to track down unreported time. However, Butler said he believes the deputies have a stronger case.

“They’re not going to overstate their claims, they’re not going to ask for more than they need — and courts generally are very receptive to claims by law enforcement personnel,” said Butler.

Richmond Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Major Jerry Baldwin released a statement Friday:

“It is Richmond City Sheriff’s office practice not to comment on pending legal matters.”