FOP SETTLES OVERTIME LAWSUIT
If you have questions about anything in the below article, please contact Jim Gallagher at (504) 442-4050 or by reply email.
Attorneys for the Fraternal Order of Police, Crescent City Lodge (FOP) have entered into a settlement agreement with the City of New Orleans in a federal law suit concerning the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and incentive pay overtime.
If you were an employee of the New Orleans Police Department during the years 2012 and/or 2013, and earned overtime while being paid a special rate of pay, you may be eligible to collect back pay.
History - in early 2012, FOP member George Brown asked an FOP board member to review a copy of his payroll stub to determine if his pension contributions were being accurately reported. In doing the various calculations involved, the FOP board member noted that Officer Brown's educational incentive pay was not being computed into his overtime calculation as required by FLSA. Several meetings were held with City Administration and Department of Finance officials, and it became obvious that the overtime calculation error involved all "special rates of pay" not being paid as a percentage of salary. It also became obvious that the City was not interested in voluntarily correcting the problem and paying the appropriate back pay. On May 10, 2012 a lawsuit was filed on behalf of George Brown and all similarly situated NOPD officers, and Danny Mack and all similarly situated former NOPD officers. The City hired an outside law firm to represent their interests. The FOP members were represented by FOP Lodge attorney Claude Schlesinger and his partner Ted Alpaugh. Settlement discussions were soon underway and a settlement agreement reached.
In short, while admitting no wrongdoing, the City of New Orleans has agreed to correct the problem moving forward (effective on 01/01/2014) by following the FLSA mandate to include all "special rates of pay" in the calculation of overtime, and to recalculate and make back payments on all overtime worked by effected employees during the calendar years 2012 and 2013. The city has also agreed to pay up to $25,000.00 to cover legal fees paid by the Fraternal Order of Police (see note at end of article).
If you received any of the below listed "special rates of pay" and earned any overtime in calendar years 2012 and/or 2013, you are due some back pay.
- Educational Incentive Pay (pay for advanced degrees)
- Field Training Officers
- Bomb Squad
- Marine Unit
By our early calculations, the amounts involved range from under $100.00 to over $2000.00, depending on the amount of overtime actually worked. The total amount due to officers is nearly $215,000.00.
Because this is an FLSA matter, you must OPT IN in order to be considered eligible for any back pay. In order to OPT IN, you must complete the form entitled Consent to Become Party Plaintiff Form and return the completed form to our FOP Lodge attorney Claude Schlesinger.
Once completed, the form can be sent by postal mail to:
NOPD Overtime Action Guste Barnett, Schlesinger, Henderson & Alpaugh LLP 639 Loyola Ave., Ste. 2500 New Orleans, LA 70113
The completed form can be emailed to
or it can be faxed to 504-561-0326.
Members may also hand-deliver the completed forms to any FOP Board member or bring the completed form to our April 2014 FOP meeting.
YOU MUST COMPLETE AND SUBMIT THE FORM BY MAY 15, 2014.
You can get the Consent to Become Party Plaintiff Form by clicking here.
You can read the NOTICE OF FLSA ACTION by clicking here
Note: The city is currently working on fixing the overtime calculation problem moving forward and expects to have the corrections made shortly - when the calculations are corrected, payments will be made back to the first of the year. Payments of back pay will be made in four equal amounts over 24 months.
Our legal research showed that FLSA actions cap at two years of back pay, unless a showing of malice on the part of the employer could be shown in which case a third year could be added. While we may have been able to reach that requirement, it would have required that the action be taken to trial. The decision was made that it would be too costly and time-consuming - and a positive outcome was not guaranteed.
Both our legal team and our Executive Board of Directors strongly believe this settlement is the best possible outcome in this matter.