Judge tosses city’s request to dismiss police overtime suit

Posted at 3:06 PM, Mar 23, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - A federal judge has denied the city's request to dismiss a lawsuit filed last year by three former Richmond Sheriff's deputies.

As a result, the city may have to pay back overtime pay to more than 500 retired and active officers. BONUS: Read judge's opinion motion to dismiss overtime suit (PDF)

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said he defended a state law, disputing the city's claim that federal wage law pre-empted a state law that closed the gap in overtime pay for officers.

Cuccinelli said that under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act,  the city is required to pay overtime pay to officers for time worked in excess of 86 hours in a 14-day period. However, state law requires compensation for all time beyond that which is regularly scheduled.

Cuccinelli argued that the two laws are not in conflict.

"We never contended that the city did not comply with federal law regarding overtime compensation," said Cuccinelli in a news release. "However, they were not complying with state law, and the city has to abide by both federal and state law as long as they are not in conflict with one another."

The 18-page suit filed in November of 2011 accuses Sheriff C. T. Woody of violating both federal and state law regarding overtime pay. It 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.