Suit claims sheriff's office underpaid more than 500 workers
July 19, 2012
An amended complaint filed in federal court Wednesday alleges that the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office has underpaid more than 500 employees over the past six years.
In all, millions of dollars of back pay could be at stake.
The original complaint was filed in 2011 on behalf of Michael Murphy who claimed to be unjustly compensated by DCSO. The amended complaint seeks class action status in order to open it up to all similarly situated individuals. Currently there is a motion pending in the original case for a leave to file the amended complaint.
According to that suit, sheriff’s office employees worked a half hour more per day but received the regular, full-time salary as set forth by the Metro pay plan. Correctional officers often worked 42.5 hours per week but were paid for only 40 hours, the lawsuit claims.
To conservatively estimate how much money may be at stake, The City Paper used the lowest salary grade for a correctional officer, $15.17 per hour. DCSO would owe $2,844 in overtime per employee per year under Metro’s current pay plan if the lawsuit’s allegations were ruled correct.
If that number is multiplied by the 240 employees that joined the lawsuit and extended over six years, the total possible dollar amount reaches well into the millions.
“We’re hopeful that as result of this lawsuit, the sheriff’s office will be required to pay its correctional officers in accordance with the Metro pay plan, like all Metro employees,” attorney Dave Garrison said. Garrison and Scott Tift of the Barrett Johnston law firm filed the amended complaint.
Garrison declined to comment on the amount of money his clients seek.
The suit includes an injunction to force the DCSO to abide by the Metro pay plan. A DCSO spokeswoman declined to comment on the ongoing litigation, per Metro policy.