Department of Labor investigating APD

AUSTIN — The U.S. Department of Labor is investigating the Austin Police Department, the department confirmed Thursday.

According to an Austin Police Association memo, the investigation is about people showing up early to work in order to be ready for when their shift officially starts.

The Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division is looking into the complaints. Investigators will going through paperwork, interview employers and employees and anyone else involved.

The Labor Department is unable to release further details until the investigation is complete; however, the department can explain the process of how the investigation came about.

According to an Austin Police Association memo, the investigation is about people showing up early to work in order to be ready for when their shift officially starts.

The Wage and Hour Division enforces overtime and minimum wage and will determine if the police department violated the Fair Labor Standards Act. The act outlines minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. The division is in place for people to report labor rights violations. Anyone can call and report this, and you can remain anonymous, according to the department.

“I know that a lot of officers feel that this is just part of being a good cop and your brother’s keeper, but FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) is law and must be followed,” Ken Casaday, president of the APA, said in the memo to union members. “The act basically says that non-exempt employees must be paid overtime for working over 40 hours.”

The APA memo states, “We have every intention to bring you a settlement to avoid litigation of this matter.”

Former Austin Police Officer Jermaine Hopkins tells KVUE via email he’s filed multiple complaints with The Department of Labor over this. APD fired him last October for numerous policy violations. In a 2013 email to the city, he claimed officers must arrive earlier than scheduled because the fifteen minute period provided by APD policy is not enough time to prepare for a patrol shift.

Employees covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act must receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek, according to the Labor Department. Employees who work overtime must receive at least one and one-half times their regular rates of pay. Go here for more information on overtime pay.

The City of Austin could not comment on specifics of the investigation but a spokesperson released the following statement:

“We have been working with the Austin Police Association and Department of Labor over concerns related to Police overtime pay. We’re currently reviewing the matter. We have a good working relationship with the APA and we’re optimistic we will be able to bring this to a positive resolution.”

http://www.kvue.com/story/news/local/2015/07/09/department-of-labor-investigates-apd/29912731/