RICHMOND, VA — The City of Richmond, Virginia recently agreed to settle a class action unpaid overtime lawsuit brought by police officers working as the security detail for the city’s mayor. As part of the agreement, the city will pay a total of $51,000 to those who served on the security detail of then-Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones. The figure includes back pay with interest, liquidated damages equal to back pay, and attorneys fees to cover the cost of litigation.
According to the unpaid overtime lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia in September 2017, the officers frequently worked more than 40 hours per week on the Mayor’s private security detail but did not receive one and a half times their average hourly wage. When created in 2005, the so-called Executive Protection Unit consisted of 11 full-time members but was eventually reduced to only five employees, and those remaining officers were forced to work greater hours than before which resulted in working many overtime hours.
The lawsuit alleged that the officers usually went on duty around 7:30 in the morning when the Mayor would summon them by text message, and remain on duty until the executive had concluded his duties for the day, usually after midnight. The lawsuit went on to state that the officers typically worked six days a week, including Sundays when the detail would drive the Mayor to see the Washington Redskins play outside the District of Columbia in suburban Maryland.
In May 2015, the Chief of the Richmond Police Department allegedly told the Executive Protection Unit the officers could no longer claim overtime on their timesheets, going as far as to remove hours from payroll records of officers who failed to comply. The complaint seeks back pay with interest, liquidated damages, court costs, and attorneys fees to litigate the complaint and hold the city responsible for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Richmond’s new mayor as subsequently disbanded the unit.
Police Officer Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit
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