A lawsuit claims Nassau County (NY) owes unpaid wages and has violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by failing to have in place comparable employment terms for female police dispatchers and make fire dispatchers
New York’s Nassau County is the defendant in a proposed class action filed by five police communications operators (PCOs) and supervisors (PCOSs) who allege they were never paid overtime wages when they worked more than 40 hours every seventh week of their seven-week tour cycle. More broadly, the lawsuit claims PCOs and PCOSs, the majority of whom the suit says are women, are discriminatorily subject to different terms of employment than predominantly male fire communications personnel despite performing "virtually identical duties."
The lawsuit, which comes after the plaintiffs reportedly received a right-to-sue letter from the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, explains Nassau County employees tasked with receiving 911 calls and dispatching an appropriate response work a seven-week tour cycle. During this cycle, the case says, PCOs and PCOSs work three 12-hour shifts during weeks one through six. During the seventh week, according to the suit, PCOs and PCOSs are required to work four 12-hour shifts, totaling 48 hours.
According to the plaintiffs, PCOs and PCOSs receive no wages for working this extra supplemental day during the seventh week of their tour cycles. The plaintiffs further claim that while they were paid overtime at triple their hourly rate for holiday work, they received such wages only for hours worked between 12:01 am and 11:59 pm on a given holiday. Further still, the plaintiffs claim they received no recoupment for mileage when they worked noncontiguous overtime for supplemental day work.
Alleged wage and hour violations notwithstanding, at the center of the lawsuit is Nassau County’s treatment of PCOs and PCOSs, who the complaint states are predominantly female, versus that of their counterparts within the fire department, who the suit says are predominantly male.
Among the differences between police and fire communications employees, fire employees, called FCTs and FCTSs, are required to work three 12-hour days, totaling 36 hours per week, the lawsuit says. According to the suit, FCTs and FCTSs are not subject to mandatory supplemental work days and are paid triple-overtime wages for holiday work, including for the 12 hours before and after the holiday. Further still, FCTs and FCTSs, the plaintiffs claim, are given “at least seven to eight more opportunities to work overtime in a given year,” and are not subject to drug testing as PCOs and PCOSs are.
Citing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the lawsuit alleges Nassau County has unlawfully failed to provide equalization of the terms and conditions of employment between police and fire communications workers on the basis of sex.