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Barefield v. Village Of Winnetka

April 15, 1996




Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 93 C 1154--James B. Zagel, Judge.

Before ESCHBACH, FLAUM, and MANION, Circuit Judges.

ESCHBACH, Circuit Judge.



Plaintiffs, 35 former and current police officers and civilian dispatchers/communications officers employed by defendant Village of Winnetka ("Winnetka"), filed a complaint for a declaratory judgment and an accounting. Plaintiffs seek to recover overtime pay allegedly owed them under the terms of an employee manual and under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. sec. 201, et seq. (the "FLSA"). Plaintiffs appeal from the district court's entry of summary judgment in favor of Winnetka. We affirm.


Prior to 1992, Winnetka's police officers and certain civilian employees of the Winnetka Police Department attended "roll call" before beginning their shift each day. A work day consisted of one of three eight-hour shifts. Roll call was a formal police activity that constituted the period of 15 minutes prior to the start of each shift. Roll call included uniform and equipment inspections, review of current orders and memoranda, review of pertinent activity on prior watches, and the assignments of vehicles and beats. In addition, police officers were sometimes assigned to handle a call on the street during roll call.

Plaintiffs seek compensation for the time spent at roll call during the period of January 1, 1983, through February 16, 1992. During that period, plaintiffs were scheduled on a 28-day work period that specified each plaintiff's days on, days off, and vacation days. Winnetka's Police Department Policy and Procedure Manual (the "Manual") required plaintiffs to be present for roll call, but did not require compensation for this specific time. In fact, Winnetka had required attendance at roll call for over thirty years, but time spent in roll call had never been paid time. Furthermore, no plaintiff had ever submitted a pay request for time spent in roll call. Plaintiffs knew when they joined the Police Department, and while they remained members of the police department, that Winnetka would not pay them for time spent in roll call.

Plaintiffs' eight-hour shift included two paid 15-minute breaks and a paid 30-minute meal period. During the breaks and the meal period, plaintiff police officers would often run personal errands. They also could eat wherever they wanted (including at home), read, or make personal telephone calls. Plaintiff civilian officers' only restriction during their meal period was that they had to remain in the police department building or in radio contact with the building. All plaintiffs remained "on-call" during these times. Being on call required plaintiff police officers to remain in radio or telephone contact, remain in or near the physical proximity of the Village of Winnetka, use an official patrol car to travel, and remain in uniform. Because all plaintiffs were on call, they occasionally would be called away from their break or their meal for department business. On such occasions, they were generally permitted to make up the lost time off.

Basing their claim on the terms of the Manual, plaintiffs brought an action seeking compensation for time spent in roll call. Winnetka issued copies of the Manual to all plaintiffs at the commencement of their employment and required plaintiffs to keep a copy of the Manual and be familiar with its contents. The Manual, by its own terms, establishes the rights and responsibilities of employees of the department. Each part of the Manual is called a "General Order." The various orders dealing with "Premium Pay Policy" define "Regular Overtime," stating:

Regular Overtime is authorized work beyond the regular eight hour tour of duty. Such work may be compensated at the request of each individual Officer on either a time and one-half basis, or through the use of compensatory time, also on a time and one-half basis. [emphasis in original]

Plaintiffs contend that the Manual requires that Winnetka compensate them for attendance at roll call because roll call is "authorized work" and it is "work beyond the regular eight hour tour of duty."

Winnetka has a different view of these circumstances. In Winnetka's view, the past practice of not compensating for roll call time is evidence that all parties understood and agreed that roll call was not paid time. Furthermore, the Manual does not indicate that time spent in roll call is paid time, overtime or otherwise. The premium pay policy in the Manual states:

Department policies conform within general guidelines outlined by the Village relating to overtime work. As a general principle, guidelines state that ". . . thirty (30) minutes or more beyond regular working hours in a day is considered overtime work and . . . will be compensated at the rate of one and one-half times the number of hours worked". This policy also allows for ...

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