June 26, 2013

Correction officers locked up for compulsory overtime

Correction officers locked up for compulsory overtime
Cacace v Seniuk, 104 Misc.2d 560

While a somewhat novel way to have overtime work performed, Supreme Court, Nassau County, held that correction officers compelled to work overtime were not denied their constitutional rights.

Although locked up in the jail, as they were during normal working hours, and denied the ability to leave without permission, Supreme Court ruled that such action was within the power of management.

The fact that the employees had received overtime pay or compensatory time off, together with a view that such a procedure was a reasonable and necessary limitation on the correction officers, was enough to support for the Court to hold that correction officers were not entitled to injunctive or declaratory relief.

Indeed, said the court, “In the last analysis, it is doubtful whether it is within the competence of the judiciary to grant the injunctive relief requested in any event. The question of manpower and its deployment is essentially one of management prerogative solely within the discretion of the public employer.”

The Court also found that §161 of the Labor Law was not applicable to correction officers, explaining that a corrections officer is a “peace officer” and “clearly not an employee within the statutory definition, i.e., a “mechanic, workingman or laborer working for another for hire,” set out in §161.