City employees file class action against Plano for not paying overtime

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Aug. 9, 2010, 6:52am

SHERMAN-Employees of the city of Plano have filed a class action to obtain unpaid overtime they claim to have earned for monitoring the radio during lunch breaks.

Individually and on behalf of others similar situated, Billy Horton, Robert Morris, Robert Prunty, Alan Spurgin, David Ratcliff, and Sam Bigham filed suit against the City of Plano on July 27 in the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.

The city employees state that they were not paid for breaks and on-call time during which they were required to monitor their radio. The employees argue that the time is compensable because they had to continuously listen for relevant messages.

They state that they had to monitor their radios over their lunch break and therefore, they were not relieved from work and should be paid for their time.

According to the complaint, Plano began compensating the employees for lunchtime hours around the end of 2009.

The employees are also required to work on call during assigned times. During their call time, they were required to have a thirty minute response time, refrain from alcohol, and constantly monitor their radio for relevant assignments and communications. Due to the restrictions, the employees state they were not relieved from work and therefore on call time is compensable time.

Causes of action filed against the city include declaratory judgment, breach of contract, quantum meruit, promissory estoppels, common law debt and the Texas Payday Act.

Class members will include city employees within three years of the lawsuit, who were paid hourly and were not paid for breaks or on call time where they were required to monitor their radio.

Plano is accused of violating the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act and showing a "reckless disregard for the fact that its failure to pay workers overtime compensation and minimum wages."

The employees are asking for an award of unpaid wages, liquated damages, attorney fees, court costs and interest.

The plaintiffs are also seeking injunctive relief stopping future violations, an order preventing retaliation and requiring monitoring, training and notice to all employees.

Dallas attorneys Robert J. Wiley and Lindsey A. Watson are representing the proposed class. Jury trail requested.

U.S. District Judge Richard A. Schell is assigned to the case.

Case No. 4:10cv00372

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