Petersburg Police sue the city for overtime pay

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PETERSBURG, Va. -- A group of Petersburg Police Department employees has sued the City of Petersburg for overtime pay they argue they are owed. The 28 police department workers claimed the city has not followed overtime pay laws for more than a decade.

"In 2005, state law was amended to require that Virginia law enforcement officers working for jurisdictions employing 100 or more law enforcement employees pay overtime compensation for the difference in the regularly scheduled workweek and the federal maximum allowed," the lawsuit stated. "[The Petersburg Police Department] did not pay [police department employees] overtime compensation for (a) all hours worked in excess of their regularly scheduled hours in each 14 day period, in violation of Virginia law, and/or (b) ll hours worked in excess of 86 hours in each 14 day period, in violation of federal law."

The lawsuit goes on to allege:

  • [The Petersburg Police Department]'s current pay plan is such that Plaintiffs are automatically paid for 80 hours in a 14 day cycle. In order for Plaintiffs to receive pay for any hours worked above 80, they must turn in a handwritten overtime slip. However, even if Plaintiffs turn in an overtime slip, they are not always paid time and a half for all hours worked over 80 or 86 in a 14 day period.
  • [The Petersburg Police Department]'s payroll system is in disarray. [The Petersburg Police Department] does not currently employ a dedicated employee to administer payroll. The Bureau's payroll is currently assigned to a secretary.
  • [The Petersburg Police Department]'s pay records are nearly impossible to decipher and are written in such a way that conceals the number of hours that Plaintiffs work and the number of hours Plaintiffs are being paid. The nature of these pay records prevents Plaintiffs from identifying any discrepancies in their pay.
  • [The Petersburg Police Department] at times does not pay overtime compensation on the regular pay day for the week in which it is earned. Defendant often pays overtime on the next pay period or even several pay periods after it is earned. This further prevents Plaintiffs from identifying discrepancies in their pay.

Petersburg City Attorney Brian Telfair said he had just learned about the lawsuit and it had not yet been officially served. Once it was officially served, lawyers would need to review the lawsuit before making any comment.