LINDEN, Ala. –The Marengo County Detention Center in Linden has paid 29 current and former employees $103,987 in back wages following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division that found violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act as well as the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime provisions.
The department’s investigation determined that one employee has been unlawfully terminated while on approved medical leave, subject to FMLA protections. The employer claimed that the employee had failed to submit required documentation but never provided the employee written notification of an obligation to do so as required by the FMLA. The employer paid the employee $11,726 in lost wages.
The investigation further determined that the employer failed to pay proper overtime to 28 correctional officers and deputies. The FLSA contains an exemption that allows police departments to establish a work period of up to 28 days, rather than the usual seven-day workweek, in which overtime need be paid only after a specified number of hours in each work period. Under that exemption, a 14-day work period requires overtime pay at time and one-half employees’ regular rates for hours worked beyond 86. In this case, employees worked 96 hours per 14-day work period but were not paid overtime. The employer has paid the affected employees$92,261 in back wages.
“Employers, including public employers, are legally obligated to pay workers proper wages for all hours worked and ensure that they can take appropriate leave when a medical emergency arises,” said Kenneth Stripling, director of the division’s Gulf Coast District Office. “The message is clear: Hardworking employees who keep our communities safe deserve every dime they earn.”