Detroit Cops Lose OT Court Fight

July 11, 2006 ( - A federal appellate court agreed with a lower court judge, deciding that a group of police officers did not prove they were due overtime pay for periods when officials from the Wayne County, Michigan, airport required them to wear pagers.

The 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals and US District Judge Denise Page Hood of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan threw out legal claims by police officers against the Wayne County (Michigan) Airport Authority that asserted that the officers were entitled to overtime pay for any off-duty hours when they were required to wear pagers.

Airport officials also required the officers to stay within a certain geographic area so they could quickly respond to emergencies. The employees were subject to discipline if they failed to respond to a summons.

Hood not only ruled against the plaintiffs on their overtime claims under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), but she also turned away allegations that airport officials retaliated against the officers for the lawsuit by requesting that they return their pagers, which eliminated compensatory time in favor of overtime.

In a ruling, the court accepted airport officials’ arguments that the test for off-duty compensable time in the area of the country that the 6th Circuit covers decides whether the employer imposed burdens on the employees during off-duty time that were so severe that employees were unable to use their off-duty time for their own pursuits.

A full copy of the court’s opinion can be found here .