HUNTSVILLE, Tenn. — The government of Scott County was ordered to pay closed to $60,000 in back wages to 31 employees of the sheriff's department for overtime pay violations.
U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) determined that the county incorrectly applied an overtime exemption for law enforcement and fire protection employees to dispatchers who, as civilian employees, do not qualify for the exemption.
Investigators said the dispatchers were scheduled for 60 hours one week, then 24 hours the next week. Instead of paying them overtime when they worked more than forty hours a week, they would only get the extra pay when they worked more than 86 hours in a two-week period.
In addition, WHD found that patrol officers were paid for their scheduled hours, not the hours that they actually worked.
Scott County has paid $59,769 in back wages to the impacted employees, and was also assessed a civil penalty of $12,486 by WHD for repeat violations.
"Misapplying exemptions results in workers taking home less than the wages they have legally earned, and can quickly add up to significant back wage liabilities," said Wage and Hour District Director Nettie Lewis, in Nashville, Tennessee. "We encourage all employers to make use of the resources we provide to help them understand their responsibilities and operate in compliance with the law. Violations like those found in this case can be avoided."