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California Correctional Officer Sues CDCR in Class Action Wage and Hour Lawsuit

October 11, 2011

Our Costa Mesa, California employment lawyers are currently representing an employee in a California class action wage and hour lawsuit who is suing his employer, the Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The plaintiff, Ryan Young, has filed a wage and hour lawsuit against the Secretary of the CDCR, Matthew Cate, on behalf of himself and other Correctional Officers in similar positions within the CDCR--the second largest peace agency in the United States, that employees around 35,000 state correctional peace officers. Young and the class, including over 10,000 correctional officers, are responsible for the operations of the California State corrections, rehabilitation, and parole systems, involving all custodial aspects for incarcerated adult inmates as well as protecting public safety by maintaining security throughout the prisons.

The California overtime lawsuit accuses Cate of depriving the correctional officers of their lawful right to overtime wages--as Young and the class performed their duties and worked over forty hours per week, without receiving overtime compensation overtime hours as required by federal law.

According to the complaint, filed last month, the overtime work arises out of the CDCR's uniform policy to request holiday time off. In order for the correctional officers to take a holiday, they must complete and submit a formal holiday request that cannot be submitted any earlier or later than thirty days before the holiday request. However, the CDCR policy refuses to let the officers complete the holiday form during their regularly scheduled shifts--requiring them to complete the form, which is work, at a time other than their scheduled work time.

Also, in order for the correctional officers to have their holiday request approved, they are required to report to their respective assignment locations donning their uniforms and all of their correctional officer equipment over thirty minutes before their shift even begins --which is time that is not compensated. The officers are also required to wait in line for holiday request approval, which often requires them to report for duty as early as 45-50 minutes before their scheduled shifts--making them unable take care of personal tasks during this time, and creating a need for schedule rearranging.

As our Riverside employment lawyers blog reported previously, according to a 2005 Supreme Court ruling, "donning and doffing" protective gear is an indispensable and principal activity of an employees' work, and therefore compensable under the FLSA. Young's lawsuit claims that the additional time Young and the class of correctional officers have to work in order to submit a holiday request is not voluntary, and therefore is compensable.

The complaint states that these willful and repeated violations of the FLSA have deprived Plaintiff Young and the class of 10,000 correctional officers of hundreds and thousands, if not millions of hard earned wages.

According to the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the FLSA, covered employees are required to be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked in a forty hour work week, as well as overtime pay of one and one-half their regular pay rates for any overtime hours worked beyond forty in a week. The FLSA requires employers to compensate workers for all hours actually worked.

Young and the class of officers seek unpaid compensation, an equal amount of liquidated damages and prejudgment interest, and attorneys' costs and fees.

Our attorneys at Howard Law, PC are committed to representing individuals who have experienced wage and hour violations in cities throughout Orange County, California. Contact our Costa Mesa-based labor and employment attorneys today, for a free consultation about your California employment rights.

Young vs. Cate, September 20, 2011

Related Web Resources:

California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR): The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, (DSLE)

U.S. Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Department of Labor (DOL): Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

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