City workers file class action for not paying overtime wages calculated with incentive pay

Michelle Keahey Jun. 5, 2012, 2:00am

NEW ORLEANS - New Orleans city employees have filed a class action that accuses the city of not correctly calculating their overtime wages by including educational incentive pay.

George Brown and Daniel J. Mack filed suit against City of New Orleans and New Orleans Police Department on May 10 in federal court in New Orleans.

The members of the proposed class include all professional law enforcement officers who are current and former members of the New Orleans Police Department and who are current and former employees of the City of New Orleans, all of whom are and/or were receiving an education pay incentive.

Since 2007, city employees have been eligible for educational incentive pay at the rate of $1,000 per year for an associate's degree, $2,000 per year for a bachelor's degree and $3,000 per year for a graduate degree.

According to the lawsuit, since the inception of the education pay incentive program, the City of New Orleans has not included this incentive pay in overtime calculations, so that the overtime rate of pay for those eligible employees has been lower than it should have been.

In addition, the defendant is accused of not paying the appropriate pension contribution to the Municipal Police Employees Retirement System on the education incentive pay and the overtime pay that officers have earned.

The plaintiffs are asking for an award of damages including all owed back wages, benefits, court costs, and attorney's fees.

The proposed class is represented by Claude A. Schlesinger and C. Theodore Alpaugh III of Guste, Barnett, Schlesinger, Henderson & Alpaugh in New Orleans.

U.S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-01180

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