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Police Officer Fired for Testifying in Overtime Lawsuit

A Los Angeles police officer was awarded $4 million in a Fair Labor Standards Act case against the Los Angeles Police Department. The jury concluded that the officer was fired in retaliation for testifying against the Los Angeles Police Department in a different labor dispute case.

The police officer that received the award testified in a January 2008 Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuit that another police officer had brought against the Department. In that case the Los Angeles Police Department was accused of not abiding by the Fair Labor Standards Act which sets rules on when workers must be compensated for overtime work.

The officer testified that he followed what he called an "unwritten policy" that the department would not provide compensation to officers who worked less than one hour of overtime. The officer explained that he would regularly not take his 45 minute lunch break because of the high volume of dispatch calls he would receive while on patrol. The officer also said that if officers made the request for time they would be chided for not being team players.

Within a few days after the officer testified, the Department began an investigation of the officer based on the fact that he openly admitted in court that he did not follow the Department's policy on overtime. A panel agreed to fire the officer in February 2009. The story the officer provided in court was similar to 2,500 LAPD officers who joined the overtime lawsuit. The estimated amount in verdicts or settlements for the overtime violation case is $100 million to $150 million.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "L.A. County Jury Awards $4 million to Former LAPD Officer," Joel Rubin, 11/3/10

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