February 26, 2009, by
On February 13, 2009, a federal jury in the Southern District of California unanimously decided that the time that eight San Diego police officers spent performing tasks prior to their shifts was not compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Specifically, the jury determined that the officers had not performed uncompensated work that was "controlled or required by the employer, and pursued necessarily and primarily for the benefit of the employer and its business." The officers contended that department policy requiring them to be ready at roll call meant they had to perform routine tasks, such as loading equipment into their squad cars and checking e-mails and voicemails, before their shifts began. The officers argued that the "police department's culture" and "unspoken policy" discouraged officers from putting in for overtime for these and other tasks. The City maintained that officers were not required to perform these tasks prior to their shifts and that officers were provided time during their shifts to perform the tasks. Indeed testimony reflected that officers performed the tasks early for other reasons, such as claiming a newer squad car. Click here to read more.