Officer files class action against Denton County over pay system

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Jan. 14, 2013, 11:38am

SHERMAN - A Denton County law enforcement officer has filed a class action lawsuit claiming that the county is violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by compensating some employees for their overtime hours with compensatory time credit instead of pay. 

Taylor White, on behalf of himself and on behalf of all others similarly situated, filed suit against Denton County and Denton County Sheriff’s Department on Jan. 10 in the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.

White is bringing the lawsuit on behalf of all non-exempt law enforcement employees, who were, are or will be employed by the defendant during the period of three years prior to the filing of the lawsuit and who have worked more than 86 hours during a 14-day work period.

According to the lawsuit, Denton County has a policy which provides that hours worked from 81 through 86 during a 14 day work period are compensated on a straight-time basis and hours worked in excess of 86 hours are compensated on a time-and-a-half basis.

However, with regard to non-exempt law enforcement personnel, Denton County pays overtime hours worked in the form of granting compensatory time as opposed to cash, the suit states.

White claims in those weeks that comp time is granted, Denton County fails to pay employees cash for the hours worked between 81 and 86 hours, but instead grants compensatory time on a straight time basis.

The defendant is accused of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by forced compensatory time in lieu of straight time, by forced compensatory time in lieu of overtime pay, and for failing to timely pay both straight time and overtime.

White is seeking an award of damages for unpaid straight time compensation, unpaid overtime compensation, lost wages, liquidated damages, attorney’s fees, court costs, and interest.

The plaintiff is represented by John F. Melton of Melton & Kumler LLP in Austin. A jury trial is requested.

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

Case No. 4:13-cv-00013

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