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Wood v. City of Elgin

January 14, 2008

WILLIAM F. WOOD, JR., ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CITY OF ELGIN, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable David H. Coar

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Several police officers ("Plaintiffs") brought a consolidated action in Illinois state court against their employer, the City of Elgin ("Defendant") for alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 ("FLSA"). Based upon 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441 and 1446, the action was removed to this Court. Before the Court now is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons stated below the motion is DENIED.

FACTUALBACKGROUND*fn1

Defendant is a municipal corporation located within the State of Illinois. Defendant employs its own local law enforcement officers, the Plaintiffs, as well as other municipal employees. Plaintiffs are members of a union called the Policemen's Benevolent Protective Association Unit 54 (the "Union"), which has been designated as their sole and exclusive bargaining agent for the purposes of establishing wages, hours of work, and other conditions of employment. Defendant and the union entered into a collective bargaining agreement*fn2 ("CBA") that governs the employment relationship between Plaintiffs and Defendant. The CBA provides that a "normal work period... shall not exceed fourteen (14) days" and that a normal work week shall constitute a 41.25 hour work week consisting of daily shifts of eight hours of work and a fifteen minute training period. From January 1, 2005, the date the CBA went into effect, until present, Plaintiffs have worked the 41.25 hour work weeks. Yet, Plaintiffs have not been paid at an overtime rate for the 1.25 hour beyond the standard forty hour work week established by section 207(a) of the FLSA. Thus, Plaintiffs are suing Defendant for violating the FLSA and they seek unpaid overtime wages and reasonable attorneys' fees. STANDARDOFREVIEW

In reviewing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court accepts all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). The purpose of a 12(b)(6) motion is to decide the adequacy of the complaint, not to determine the merits of the case. Gibson v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990) (citation omitted). A complaint should not be dismissed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) unless it fails it provide fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests or it is apparent from the face of the complaint that under no plausible facts may relief be granted. St. John's United Church of Christ v. City of Chicago, 502 F.3d 616, 625. All reasonable inferences are to be drawn in favor of the plaintiff. Gastineau v. Fleet Mortg. Corp., 137 F.3d 490, 493 (7th Cir. 1998) (citation omitted).

ANALYSIS

The FLSA imposes a general obligation on employers to pay overtime compensation for work performed in excess of forty hours per week. Title 29 U.S.C. § 207(a) states as follows:

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, no employer shall employ any of his employees who in any workweek is engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce, or is employed in an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce, for a workweek longer than forty hours unless such employee receives compensation for his employment in excess of the hours above specified at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate at which he is employed.

(2) No employer shall employ any of his employees who in any workweek is engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce, or is employed in an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce, and who in such workweek is brought within the purview of this subsection by the amendments made to this chapter by the Fair Labor Standards Amendments of 1966-

(A) for a workweek longer than forty-four hours during the first year from the effective date of the Fair Labor Standards Amendments of 1966,

(B) for a workweek longer than forty-two hours during the second year from such date, or

(C) for a workweek longer than forty hours after the expiration of the second year from such date, unless such employee receives compensation for his employment in excess of the hours above specified at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate at which he is employed.

The FLSA does exempt a public agency from the statute's general requirements and allows such an employer to follow different overtime compensation schemes for its firefighters and law enforcement officers when and if there is an established "work period" that satisfies certain other statutory criteria. 29 U.S.C. § 207(k). Although Plaintiffs' Complaint makes no mention of a work period or § 207(k) of the FLSA, Defendant claims such an alternative overtime compensation scheme exists for the Plaintiffs, as evidenced by the CBA, and that it is therefore exempt from the requirements of § 207(a) and under no set of facts can Plaintiffs establish Defendant violated the FLSA.

The term "work period" is not defined by the FLSA. However, the Department of Labor has promulgated regulations that ...


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