Officers, Deputies suing city over Overtime

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Sheriff's deputies filed a class action suit against Sheriff C.T Woody this week, claiming he owes them for unpaid overtime. They join hundreds of Richmond police officers making the same claim against the city.

At least 355 Richmond police officers are now suing the city in this class action lawsuit, and more are joining in everyday.

Three city sheriff's deputies just started the same process for folks working at the jail. They all say the city is not following state or federal law by not paying them for overtime they worked.

Sworn to protect and serve, officers and deputies around the state say they're not being paid for all the overtime they worked. Federal law requires law enforcement be paid time and a half for every hour worked over 171 in a month long pay period.

But in 2005, the Virginia General Assembly passed a bill sponsored by Ken Cuccinelli that said law enforcement should be paid time and half for anything over 160 hours.

"A lot of jurisdictions I think have seen this difference in 160 and 171 or 165 and 171 as that's monopoly money," said Harris Butler.

Harris Butler is representing the officers and deputies in both lawsuits.

BUTLER: "We can play with those hours as long as we don't go over 171."
Rachel: "They're kind of ignoring that 160 threshold?"
Butler: "They haven't taken it as seriously as they've taken the federal."

Butler says he doesn't have an exact figure on how much the city owes, but he says it's substantial. We estimate it's in the millions.

The suits also alleges the city routinely deducted a daily 30 minute meal break, regardless of whether the break was actually taken by the employee. And that sheriff's deputies have to report for shifts early, but are not paid for their time.

It's the city policy not to comment on pending litigation, but, according to court documents, the city is denying all of the claims and even asks for proof.

The Richmond police lawsuit is already in federal court. Judge Henry Hudson is asking both sides to meet and try to settle the dispute. The case goes back before him in December.

The sheriff's department hasn't been served yet but the department does not comment on pending legal matters.

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