Police sergeants who were wrongfully denied overtime pay may be able to file a claim to recover up to twice the amount of unpaid time-and-a-half wages originally owed to them.
Overtime wages for law enforcement employees may be paid on a "work period" basis, which can range from 7 to 28 consecutive days in length. Overtime pay is thereby due for hours worked in excess of 43 over a 7-day period; 86 over a 14-day period; or 171 over a 28-day period.
In general, employees who were denied overtime in violation of state or federal labor law may be able to recover up to two years of unpaid overtime, or three years in cases of willful violations.
Police sergeants who were denied overtime wages may be able to make a claim to recover compensation for their unpaid overtime. A recent federal appeals court ruling has found that police sergeants are in fact eligible for overtime pay, and should not be classified as “exempt” or ineligible for time-and-a-half wages under federal overtime law. While the court has found that sergeants have some management duties, they should not be considered “management,” as their role as first responders on the front lines of active crime scenes makes them eligible for overtime wages.
Police Overtime Policy
Under federal overtime law, all “non-exempt” or eligible employees are entitled to receive time-and-a-half pay for their overtime hours. While overtime pay is typically paid out when an employee works more than 40 hours in a single workweek, law enforcement officers are permitted to be paid overtime on a “work period” basis. A “work period” can be from 7 consecutive days to 28 consecutive days in length. Typically, a police sergeant must receive overtime pay after:
43 hours in a 7 day period
86 hours of work in a 14-day work period
171 hours in a 28-day period
Police Sergeant Unpaid Overtime Claims
In addition to providing overtime pay, law enforcement agencies are required to comply with other applicable federal and state wage and hour laws. They must pay their employees for time spent working during lunch breaks and certain hours spent “on call.” Potentially, police sergeants who were not paid in accordance with wage and hour laws may be able to file a claim to recover the wages that should have been paid to them. There is a time limit, however, for filing claims for unpaid wages.