LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. – The Limestone County Sheriff’s Office will be paying nearly $50,000 in back wages to 126 employees, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Tuesday.
The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division said the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office failed to pay deputies for hours they worked when filing required warrants at the courthouse outside their scheduled hours. In many instances, the courthouse was not open during officers’ regularly scheduled shifts, so visits to the courthouse outside of scheduled hours were done out of necessity. The Limestone County Sheriff’s Department failed to record this time or paid deputies for it.
According to WHD, the Sheriff’s Office also failed to pay employees for time spent working at an annual fundraising event. Investigators determined that these hours worked by the employees did not meet the definition of “volunteer” work according to regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act, as they claimed LCSO pressured employees into working at the event and took adverse disciplinary action toward any employee who refused to volunteer.
In a news release, Wage and Hour District Director Kenneth Stripling said this serves as a reminder that government departments need to meet FLSA requirements.
“The resolution of this case serves as a reminder for local, county, and state governments that they are subject to the FLSA’s requirements,” he said. “Employees have a right to be paid for all of the hours that they work, and cannot be forced to volunteer their time. We encourage all employers to make use of the many tools we provide to help them understand their responsibilities and operate in compliance with the law.”