DC police union suit alleges unpaid overtime during pandemic

The union representing D.C. police officers is accusing the District and the police department of not fully compensating them for work done during the pandemic.

The D.C. Police Union names Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and the department in a federal lawsuit filed in D.C. District Court.

The suit seeks unpaid overtime, alleging a District failure to include $14 per-diem hazard payments in the pay rate upon which their overtime is based.

“This failure results in the employees receiving overtime compensation at an unlawfully low rate when they work in excess of the [Fair Labor Standards Act]’s overtime threshold and represents a clear violation of the law,” said the union’s attorneys in a statement.

Bowser authorized the per-diem payment back in April for any District employees who had to physically go to work during the District’s public health emergency.

The suit contends the District and D.C. police “willfully and wrongfully violated” statutory obligations.

“During the time period beginning March 16, 2020, Plaintiffs [officers] have regularly worked hours in excess of 171 hours in a 28-day period and have been paid overtime compensation for these hours, albeit at a rate that fails to include in its calculation the hazard pay that Plaintiffs have received,” the suit reads.

“The overtime compensation paid to Plaintiffs [officers] was not equal to one and one-half times the Plaintiffs’ regular rates of pay because their regular rates of pay did not take into account the $14 per diem hazard pay.”

The lawsuit seeks backpay equal to the unpaid overtime owed, as well as an equal amount as liquidated damages.

WTOP has reached out to the mayor’s office and D.C. police for comment.


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