Sheriff’s office worker files suit

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An employee of the Denton County Sheriff’s Office has filed suit in federal court against Denton County and the sheriff’s office, saying they have violated the policy about paying overtime.

Taylor White alleges that he was illegally awarded compensatory time off instead of the money he should have earned working for the county. He is suing on behalf of himself and any other employee who was treated the same way.

White says in his lawsuit that the county has a policy called “Compensation of Overtime Worked: Non-Exempt Law Enforcement” that states “overtime will be paid in either compensatory time or pay when required.”

The policy further states that “hours worked from 81 through 86 during the 14-day work period shall be compensated on a straight-time basis with hours worked in excess of 86 hours compensated on a time and a half basis.”

This policy has been in place longer than three years, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit alleges that even though there has been no agreement of understanding of this practice, it has been a regular policy to pay overtime hours worked in the form or compensatory time as opposed to cash, a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The lawsuit also claims there are more than 500 current and former employees who also have been harmed by this practice.

County officials said they could not comment on the lawsuit.

“The Commissioners Court has not been briefed on [the lawsuit]. It’s on the agenda for next Tuesday for executive session,” County Judge Mary Horn said. “Since it is an ongoing lawsuit, we don’t comment on it. We just have to let thing run their course.”

Representing White in the lawsuit is John Melton of the Austin-based legal firm Melton & Kumler LLP.

Melton also declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Melton also said he did not have an exact amount of money the suit claims is owed to White by the county.

Like Horn, Denton County Sheriff William Travis acknowledged he had received the paperwork for the lawsuit and declined to comment as he and others evaluate the issues in the case.

 

Staff Writer Megan Gray contributed to this report.

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6889. His e-mail address is blewis@dentonrc.com.


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