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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

WHD News Release: [06/01/2010]
Contact Name: Dolline Hatchett or Deanne Amaden
Phone Number: (202) 693-4676 or 415) 625-2630
Release Number: 10-0745-SAN

US Department of Labor secures more than $2 million in back wages for Maricopa County sheriff’s staff

Payments to compensate detention officers, sergeants for pre-shift meeting time

PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in Phoenix have agreed to pay overtime back wages totaling $2,059,807 to 1,690 detention officers and sergeants for uncompensated pre-shift meeting time. The meetings were part of the daily routine at six detention facilities throughout Maricopa County.

"Employers, including public employers, must be held accountable to the law and pay their employees for all time spent on the job — including time the employees are required to be present before and after their shifts begin," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "The message is clear. Hard working employees who keep our communities safe deserve every dime they earn."

An investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division found that, beginning in 2007, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office attempted to reduce overtime expenses, leaving the time for the pre-shift meetings off the official paid time recorded for detention officers and sergeants at the six facilities. The back wages were computed for these 1,690 workers based on records provided by the county and cover time worked between Nov. 1, 2007, and March 4, 2009.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, covered employees must be paid for required pre- and post-shift time for a meeting. The law also requires that employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates of pay, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers must also maintain accurate time and payroll records.

The case was investigated by the Wage and Hour Division's Phoenix District Office. For more information about the FLSA, call the division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its Phoenix District Office at 602-514-7100. Information is also available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd.