RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)—Friday, a federal judge signed off on a $7 million dollar settlement approved by City Council.
When Stacy Rogers, President of Richmond Coalition of Police, lead the charge to get hundreds of Richmond police officers back pay, he never worried about his own job. “We just wanted to be treated fairly.”
“We felt like our jobs are to enforce the law,” he said. “And we thought our employers should be doing the same thing.”
The agreement is the result of a class action lawsuit filed in September by more than 600 active and retired officers, who say, the department didn’t pay them for the time worked.
“I’m glad it’s over,” said Rogers. “It’s certainly a point of relief that it’s said and done.”
“The city could’ve certainly paid more, and the city certainly could’ve paid less,” said Attorney Harris Butler.”
“And finally, a resolution is at what level both parties can come to an agreement that they agree to kind of stop the bleeding and resolve it and move forward,” he said.
The officers in the suit will now get that money based on the overtime hours worked and breaks that they didn’t take. The dispute started over the difference between state and federal law.
In Virginia, hourly employees must get time and a half for working over 80 hours in a two-week pay period.
But the City of Richmond paid officers under the federal law, which says overtime gets paid after 86 hours.
Judge Henry Hudson sided with the officers. And that’s when the city realized, it was best to settle the suit, which was initially set at nearly 40 million.
“We’re going to go forward and hopefully the city will continue to make things right in the future,” said Rogers.
Mayor Dwight Jones released a statement to CBS 6 late this afternoon:
“I am pleased that we were able to reach a settlement agreement that was fair and balanced for all parties involved. There are no sour grapes in the outcome of this settlement as our police officers deserve every penny of the compensation they will receive. I am glad that we are able to place this behind us, as now we will move forward in protecting and serving the rights of Richmond residents and guests.”
A class action administrator will send checks out next week to all of those 600 plus police officers who are owed overtime pay.
Rogers told CBS 6 that 200 more were denied overtime, but decided not to file suit fearing retaliation and intimidation by the department.