By Joe Beck
A lawsuit filed by former and current Frederick County deputies over unpaid overtime wages ended Friday in U.S. District Court with a final order of a settlement awarding $205,460 to 64 deputies and their attorneys.
The order, filed by Judge Michael F. Urbanski, distributes a total of $145,460 among deputies who had claimed the county and Sheriff's Office had refused to fully compensate them for overtime hours under state and federal law. The amounts the deputies will receive vary from $4,605 to $725, according to tables and terms in the court records.
Frederick County attorney Rod Williams said he has been fielding numerous inquiries about the settlement as it went through its final approval process over the last two months.
"I know this took a while," Williams said of the settlement order, adding, "this one is really it. This is the last order to be signed."
Williams said the county would issue checks as part of its regular payroll cycle and pass them on to the plaintiffs' attorneys for final distribution. Although the county has 60 days to issue the checks, Williams said they will probably be sent much sooner.
"Frankly, we have no desire for this to take as long as 60 days," Williams said.
The deputies accused the county of following a policy under which deputies who work overtime in one pay period are allowed to take those hours off in future pay periods, although they receive no credit for the comp hours at the overtime rate.
The overtime hours at issue in the lawsuit covered a "pay gap" ranging between 161 and 171 hours over a 28-day pay period.
The lawsuit complaint argued that federal law allows local jurisdictions to avoid paying overtime until an employee has exceeded 171 hours in 28-day period, but a change in the state law lowered the standard in Virginia to 160 hours in late 2006.
The lawsuit also contended the county and sheriff's office failed to keep accurate records of hours worked and sometimes altered work records and misappropriated hours.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org