Corrections Officers Filing Lawsuits for Overtime Pay, Unpaid Wages
Last Updated on March 23, 2021
At A Glance
- This Alert Affects:
- Corrections officers.
- What’s Going On?
- Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are investigating the pay practices of prisons across the country. They have reason to believe that some prison guards are being illegally underpaid.
- How Could Guards Be Getting Underpaid?
- It’s suspected that corrections officers are not being paid for all work-related duties, including time spent passing through security checks, gathering equipment, and speaking with the last guard on duty.
- What You Can Do
- If you work or worked as a corrections officer, fill out the form on this page to find out if you could be owed unpaid wages. It doesn’t cost anything to get in touch and the only people we will ever share your information with are the attorneys working with ClassAction.org.
- Can I Be Fired for Speaking Up?
- Federal law prohibits employers from taking retaliatory action against employees simply because they exercised their legal rights.
If you work or have worked as a corrections officer, attorneys working with ClassAction.org would like to speak with you as part of an ongoing investigation.
They have reason to believe that some prison guards are being cheated out of several hours of pay each week and that a class action lawsuit could help these employees recover their unpaid wages.
Read on for more – including information on a $113 million jury verdict for Missouri corrections officers – or fill out the form on this page to learn more about this investigation and how it affects you.
How Could Prison Guards Be Getting Cheated Out of Wages?
Under federal law, all time spent working for the benefit of an employer must be paid. This is true regardless of whether an employee is clocked in or not.
It’s believed, however, that many prisons are only paying their corrections officers for work performed during their scheduled shift times. This is despite the fact that most guards need to arrive on premises and perform a number of work-related tasks before they get to their posts.
These pre-shift tasks include:
- Dressing in uniform jackets and belts
- Lining up to sign in
- Picking up equipment, such as radios and keys
- Passing through airlocks and control areas
- Going through security checks
- Walking to their posts
- Getting briefed by the last guard on duty
Corrections officers must also perform a number of duties at the end of their shifts for no pay.
These tasks include:
- Completing end-of-shift census and activity reports
- Passing through security checkpoints and control areas
- Checking e-mail sent to them during their shifts
- Returning keys and communication equipment and signing out
It has been estimated that pre- and post-shift work takes approximately 30-50 minutes per day. If guards aren’t being paid for this time, they’re not only missing out on several hours of pay each week, but also time-and-a-half pay if they end up working more than 40 hours per week.
How Can a Class Action Lawsuit Help?
A class action lawsuit could help corrections officers get back the wages they should have received for pre- and post-shift work, as well as overtime pay. A successful lawsuit could also require the prison to change the way it tracks work time and pays its employees.
Has a Lawsuit Like This Been Filed Before?
Yes. And in August 2018, a Missouri jury awarded a group of 13,000 prison guards more than $113 million in damages. The class action claimed the guards went unpaid for the 20 minutes they spent going through security checks and gathering intelligence about inmates before they started their shifts. Keep in mind, however, that each case and outcome will be different.
Can I Get Fired for Speaking Up?
Federal law strictly prohibits employers from firing or otherwise retaliating against employees simply because they’ve exercised their legal rights.
If you aren’t being paid from the time you arrive on premises until the time you leave, fill out the form on this page.
It’s possible that you may be owed thousands in unpaid wages.
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