Prison guards in Missouri will be able to recover significant amount of owed wages, after a decade long lawsuit. Approximately 13,000 current and former prison guards from over 20 state prisons across the Missouri stand to benefit from the $128 million settlement. The preliminarily approvedsettlement will be paid out in installments. First, $33 million of the total will go to affected employees that will each get a prorated amount based on how long they worked for the agency.Then, over the course of the next 8 years, $65 million will be paid out to prison guards via an extra 15 minutes of overtime for every shift they work.
The original lawsuit, which was filed back in 2012, alleged guards did not get paid for all of their hours worked. Specifically, prison guards had to pass through significant levels of security checks in close proximity to prisoners, all the while in uniform, and expected to be “on duty and expected to respond”. Additionally, guards had to spend significant amount of time after each shift on exit procedures, such as communicating relevant information to the incoming workersand take inventory of all weapons and ammunition. However,none of this time was taken into account when calculating their regular rate of pay or overtime rates when working over forty hours per week. Federal and state laws, such as the Fair Labor Standard’s Act (“FLSA”) protect workers to ensure they are paid for all compensable time.
It isn’t uncommon for companies or agencies to avoid paying its workers for all time spent completing required job responsibilities. Things like waiting to clear security shifts, pre-shift meetings, post-shift cleaning, working through breaks, travel time between work sites, and time spent powering up and shutting down stations are just a few tasks that might be considered compensable. If you work in a similar industry orbelieve you may not be getting paid correctly for all of your hours worked, give our employment law firm, Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP, a call at (212)300-0375 for a free and confidential phone consultation. You can also visit our website for additional information regarding your work rights.