Welcome to the Department of Justice, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller

For immediate release - Friday, December 6, 2002.

Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699.

Statement of the Attorney General's Office
on the Court's Ruling in Dept. of Public Safety Overtime Pay Case

Following is a statement of the AG's Office:  

Polk County District Court Judge D.J. Stovall's 96-page decision was issued late Thursday. It will provide the parameters for computing how much back overtime pay must be paid to management employees of the State Patrol and others in the Department of Public Safety. There are many variables and details in the ruling, and we are working through the calculations to determine the financial consequences of the decision.

The plaintiffs were salaried employees in various levels of the supervisory hierarchy in the Iowa Department of Public Safety. Plaintiffs' positions range from past Patrol chiefs, assistant Patrol directors, area commanders, district commanders and assistant district commanders for the Patrol to special agents in charge for DCI and DNE. The State's position has been that these salaried managers and administrators (Patrol chiefs and other managers) were not eligible for overtime pay simply because they were subject to the disciplinary policy.

The district court found that all of the plaintiffs are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act based on their job duties and, therefore, would not have been entitled to overtime pay but for the Department's disciplinary policy. The policy, rescinded in August 1998 provided for deducting pay from employee salaries for disciplinary reasons. Based on an analysis of federal regulations, the judge concluded this policy destroyed the exemption from the Fair Labor Standards Act and required payment for overtime hours.

While the district court found that the federal law entitled these employees to overtime pay for certain years, the district court rejected other claims. We were pleased with two key points of the ruling. The district court found that liability ended as of November 5, 1995, when the Department directed that personnel obtain prior approval before working overtime. Although the disciplinary policy was not rescinded formally until 1998, no requests for authorization to work overtime hours were presented to the Department after the November 5, 1995, directive. The directive to obtain approval for overtime hours, therefore, cut off liability. Further, the claims for overtime hours focused primarily on time spent eating lunch and driving between home and the work. The district court found that plaintiffs should be paid for time they spent eating lunch; however, the judge rejected the claim that plaintiffs should be paid for time spent driving between home and work.

The State will be calculating the financial consequences of all these determinations with respect to the cases of each of the 147 plaintiffs. The district court directed both the plaintiffs and the State to submit a proposed order within thirty days that applies calculations of damages due to each plaintiff under the ruling.

We have not made a decision on whether to seek an appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court. We will be analyzing the decision and considering the final calculation of damages..

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