Court: Cleveland Needs Better Reason to Deny Cops' Comp Time Leave

November 30, 2004 ( - A federal appeals court has thrown out the City of Cleveland's overtime pay policy for police officers, saying that the city couldn't deny comp time claims without properly showing such payments represented an undue hardship.

The US 6 th Circuit Court of Appeals said that a financial impact to the city’s budget was not a good enough reason under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to deny a worker’s request to use a particular day as comp time.

The city policy at issue denies a police officer’s comp time request if it would mean having to pay a substitute officer overtime to cover a shift for on-leave officer.

However US District Judge William Haynes Jr., sitting on the appeals panel by special designation and writing for the court, asserted that the potential necessity to pay overtime to cover a comp time shift isn’t a strong enough reason to be exempted from the FLSA.

Haynes also said that city officials had not shown that the financial burden of paying an officer overtime to cover a comp time shift was severe enough to disrupt normal police department operations.

“The police officers’ compensatory leave requests must be granted absent ‘clear and affirmative evidence’ of an undue disruption of the city’s provision of police services for its citizens that is the controlling consideration under the ‘unduly disrupt’ standard (in the FLSA),” Haynes wrote.

The decision is at .