EAST ST. LOUIS, IL – After a long shift patrolling the streets of East St. Louis together, the city’s K-9 unit police officers returned home and groomed, fed and cared for their trusted furry, four-legged partners. While these officers are legally entitled to be paid for this additional work, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has found the City of East St. Louis failed to record the hours or pay overtime as required for the animal care provided by three officers.
The division determined East St. Louis’ failures violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, and found the employer required officers to kennel their canine partners at their homes. Investigators also discovered that the city required all K-9 officers to sign a document agreeing to forgo overtime compensation because the East St. Louis Police Department lacked the funds to pay them.
During the investigation, the division also found the City of East St. Louis failed to pay overtime to some patrolmen, sergeants and detectives.
The division has recovered $158,973 in back overtime wages for 19 of the city’s Metro East Police Department employees as a result of the investigation.
“Police officers who pledge to uphold the law should not themselves fall victim to illegal pay practices,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Jim Yochim in St. Louis. “Employers cannot coerce or require employees to forgo pay they’re entitled to, regardless of the employer’s financial circumstances. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to ensure that all employees are paid for all the hours they work.”
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.