Thursday, November 7, 2002
City Council Votes to Settle Latest Los Angeles Police Overtime Lawsuit for $6.75 Million
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Los Angeles City Council yesterday agreed to pay $6.75 million to settle a lawsuit brought by police officers for unpaid overtime.
The class action was filed on Aug. 1, 2000, just a few months after the city agreed to a record $40 million settlement in three suits in which officers alleged their overtime was paid late or not at all.
Costa Mesa Attorney Gregory Petersen, who was appointed class counsel for a five-year period to monitor compliance with the 2000 settlement, said police management deprived the officers of overtime pay in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by imposing an off-the-books system known popularly as “white time.”
Under the white time system, officers who are required or encouraged to work an extra hour or half-hour were discouraged from putting in for the time. In some cases, Peterson said, officers were denied their requested assignments unless they agreed not to book the overtime.
White time is officially banned, but has been used on a division-by-division basis, Petersen said.
There were approximately 530 plaintiffs in the latest case, known as Brehm v. City of Los Angeles after the lead plaintiff, Officer Edward Brehm.
The attorney emphasized that the lawsuit and the settlement had nothing to do with current management. Chief William Bratton took over the reins of the LAPD last month.
Petersen said the flexible work schedule, implemented earlier this year, has reduced the need for overtime.
There is a companion case that also is in the settlement phase, Petersen said.
The city retained the law firm of Liebert, Cassidy & Whitmore as special counsel in the case.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company