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California Labor Laws Accompany Fair Labor Standards Act

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Los Angeles, CAAlthough California has a labor code, its rules and regulations accompany the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), meaning that employers in California must follow both the California Labor Code and the FLSA. One regulation included in the FLSA is that nonexempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a week must be given overtime pay.

california labor lawFrom March 8th to March 10th, a notice of collective action was sent to 10,670 Los Angeles Police Department Officers who are eligible to join the Alaniz, et al. v. City of Los Angeles lawsuit. The suit alleges that the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) does not compensate officers for work done before and after their regular shifts, at home, and during meal breaks. The lawsuit argues that the Fair Labor Standards Act requires that employees be paid for such work, including preparing for court appearances, filling out arrest and investigation reports, and putting on and taking off protective gear. The lawsuit is seeking compensation for all LAPD Officers at the rank of Lieutenant and below who worked at least one shift between May 23, 2003 and now.

A similar lawsuit in Orange County California, Reed v. County of Orange, has been granted class-action status. That lawsuit argues that Orange County Deputy Sheriffs below the rank of sergeant were not properly compensated for required work that was done before and after regular shifts. Such activities included attending briefings and court hearings.

Another lawsuit, Batts et al. v. City of Los Angeles alleges that defendants in the Alaniz lawsuit, as well as one other lawsuit, retaliated against plaintiffs in those lawsuits by passing them over for promotions, intimidating them and giving them poor ratings reviews.

Meanwhile, in San Luis Obispo, police officers are seeking compensation for time spent putting on and taking off departmentally required safety equipment. The case in San Luis Obispo, known as Dale Strobridge v. the city of San Luis Obispo, alleges that the city is violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying overtime. So far 33 plaintiffs have signed on to the lawsuit. They argue that putting on and taking off the safety gear takes 15 minutes at either end of their work shifts. Their gear includes bulletproof vests, handcuffs, and handguns.

According to an article at officer.com, these types of cases are known as "donning and doffing" lawsuits. They have become more common since 2005, when a U.S. Supreme Court ruled that meatpackers must be paid for time spent putting on and taking off safety gear. The success of that lawsuit has resulted in police officers filing similar lawsuits all over the country.
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