The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 29, 2010
Breaking news: CCPOA loses overtime lawsuit appeal

Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgThe California Correctional Peace Officers Association has lost its appeal of a lower court ruling that found the state wasn't forcing correctional officers to work overtime without pay. Here's a bit of background from the 1st District Court of Appeal's decision:

In 2009, Kurt Stoetzl, a CCPOA member, and the CCPOA filed a first amended complaint seeking injunctive relief and backpay. In their first amended complaint, plaintiffs alleged that Unit Six employees routinely worked eight hours and 12 minutes per day, or a 41-hour workweek. Plaintiffs further alleged that defendants had a statutory obligation, under section 19851, to compensate Unit Six employees for time worked in excess of eight hours per day or 40 hours per week at an overtime rate, and failed to do so.

Presiding Justice Barbara Jones and associates Terence Bruniers and Henry Needham upheld the lower court's ruling. Here's one reason:

A fundamental flaw of plaintiffs' arguments is that they presume that there must be a trigger for overtime compensation under state law that is more protective of public employees than what is provided by the (Fair Labor Standards Act). However, plaintiffs provide no authority for this underlying premise and we know of none. Plaintiffs seem to rely on a general assumption that any work in excess of eight hours per day or 40 hours per week constitutes "overtime," automatically triggering a requirement for additional compensation. With respect to private sector employees, overtime compensation is regulated by various Industrial Wage Commission wage and hour orders and Labor Code section 510. Labor Code section 510, subdivision (a), provides in relevant part: "Any work in excess of eight hours in one workday and any work in excess of 40 hours in any one workweek and the first eight hours worked on the seventh day of work in any one workweek shall be compensated at the rate of no less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for an employee." However, state and local government employees are exempted from the overtime rules applicable to private sector employees.

Click here to download the court's 17-page ruling. The decision comes one week after a federal jury rendered a $12 million defamation verdict against CCPOA. The union says it will appeal that decision.

IMAGE: www.yolocourts.ca.gov

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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