As an employer, you are responsible for ensuring that your employees are treated as federal and state laws require. When it comes to overtime pay, the laws are strict as to when overtime pay is required.
Four employees with the city of Cincinnati have filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the city has continually required them to work overtime while paying them straight time.
The four employees are members of the police department's Body Worn Camera Unit, which maintains the cameras and pulls requested videos. Any part of the video that must be redacted before providing the footage to the prosecutor, the defense, the media or others must be done according to certain guidelines.
This is a time-consuming process. For the last three years, the four employees have not been paid overtime even though they were told to work mandatory overtime due to the high volume of requests. Many requests also had fast turn-around times.
The employees were paid for the overtime hours in cash at straight time or by what is known as "flex time." Flex time hours may be taken by employees to come to work late or leave early and still be paid regular time. It expires after 24 months and if an employee leaves, there is no cash value.
The city has now discontinued mandatory overtime and is trying to operate the unit without overtime.
It can be difficult to know exactly when overtime is due in many cases. As an employer, it is wise to discuss such policies with your legal department in order to avoid disagreements such as the one in Cincinnati.