Friday, April 22, 2011

Eligibility for overtime

Eligibility for overtime
Spradling v City of Tulsa, CA10, 95 F.3d 1492

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has rejected a claim by district fire chiefs employed by Tulsa, Oklahoma, for overtime payments under the Fair Labor Standards Act [FLSA].

The district chiefs claimed that such payments were required by the FLSA. The circuit court disagreed, ruling that the chiefs were “bona fide executive, administrative, or professional employees” within the meaning of FLSA and therefore not subject to its overtime provisions. In other words, they were “exempt” employees.

In Alden v Maine, 527 U.S. 706, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Eleventh Amendment bars state employees suing their state employer in federal court without the state’s consent.

However, in Alden the court noted an “important limitation” to the principle of sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment -- such immunity does not cover “lesser entities” such as political subdivisions of a state.

In the words of the Supreme Court, “[t]he immunity does not extend to suits prosecuted against a municipal corporation or other governmental entity that is not an arm of the State.”

The City of Tulsa case demonstrates that federal courts will continue to hear claims brought by public employees alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act involving a political subdivision of a state that is not an “arm of the state.”

However, it could be argued that because sworn officers serving with a municipal police department are exercising “the police powers of the state,” their employer is “an arm of the state” and thus the municipality has Eleventh Amendment immunity from law suits in federal court.
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Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

The Discipline Book at http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/

Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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