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West Virginia K9 Officer Sues City Over Unpaid Overtime and Retaliation Under FLSA

Charleston– A former police officer with the Martinsburg, West Virginia police department recently filed an unpaid overtime lawsuit against the city claiming he is owed years of unpaid wages for his work in a K9 unit assigned to him. The claim also alleges the defendant illegally retaliated against the plaintiff by firing the officer immediately after informing the department of the intent to be paid overtime and possibly exercise legal action under federal labor laws.

The lawsuit alleges the Martinsburg police department failed to compensate the plaintiff for the estimate seven and a half additional hours of work put in by the officer each week for the care, grooming, and feeding of the German shepherd assigned to him. According to reports, the city initially only compensated the plaintiff for two hours of overtime and eventually three and a half hours but never for the totality of the of-duty hours performed by the K9 officer.

At some point, the plaintiff became ineligible to serve as a K9 handler, due to his rank of sergeant after the city passed new overtime pay rules. The plaintiff, in turn, offered to rescind his rank and revert to a patrolman in order to continue to work with the dog.

When the plaintiff, through his attorney, responded to the city’s rejection to pay the officer all his overtime by asserting his legal rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the defendant allegedly terminated the plaintiff on the spot. The city went so far as to post a job opening for the plaintiff’s position and even retired the animal assigned to the officer, despite the dog likely being able to serve for at least four more years as a police animal.

The FLSA protects workers from retaliation after making claims an employer is in violation of the Act’s provisions. The plaintiff’s overtime pay suit seeks back pay with interest, liquidated damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees to litigate the suit.

Police Officer Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit

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