SNEEDVILLE, TN – The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department in Sneedville found they had failed to follow the law after a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation determined the employer did not pay required overtime or comp time to employees who worked more than 40 hours per workweek.

The overtime violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act led the division to recover $47,252 in back wages for 65 workers in the sheriff’s department. While the FLSA allows law enforcement employers to pay overtime or provide compensatory time to their employees based on work periods other than the standard 40 hour workweek, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department chose not to claim that exemption. Violations occurred when payroll processing errors resulted in the employer’s failure to track when workers exceeded 40 hours in a workweek.

“Employers must pay workers all the wages they have earned, including overtime,” said Acting Wage and Hour Division District Director Kenneth Stripling in Nashville, Tennessee. “In this case, those in the business of protecting us needed protections themselves. We encourage employers to review their pay practices to ensure that they are in compliance with the law, and to reach out to us, confidentially, with any questions. A call to our help-line puts you in touch with a trained Wage and Hour professional who can answer your questions.”

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). Information is also available at, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.

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