Genova Burns Wins Summary Judgment on Behalf of the Township of Teaneck, Defeating Overtime Claims for 88 Plaintiff Police Officers

January 7, 2013

Plaintiffs alleged that Teaneck had  violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay proper overtime, by failing to provide compensation for time spent attending daily roll calls or muster time, and by failing to provide compensation for time spent donning and doffing uniforms and equipment each day. In an opinion reported by Law360,  New Jersey federal judge Judge Katharine S. Hayden found that  the plaintiffs did not have sufficient evidence that they had worked enough hours to trigger overtime pay. The Court found the FLSA exemption under section 207(k) applies and the applicable  overtime thresholds were 55 hours for the plaintiffs on a nine-day cycle and 43 hours for the plaintiffs on a seven-day cycle. It then found Plaintiffs had no evidence that they worked in excess of these overtime thresholds . Judge Hayden also rejected the police officers’ arguments that they were owed “muster time,” the period during which police officers must report for inspection and roll call 10 minutes before the start of their tours and dismissed only after a 10-minute roll call at the end of their tours, or for time spent “donning and doffing” their uniforms. “The court finds that because the plaintiffs have the option to don and doff their uniforms and gear at home and because the option to change at work benefits the plaintiffs, not Teaneck, these activities are preliminary and postliminary to the principal activity of police work and therefore are non-compensable under the FLSA,” Judge Hayden said. Teaneck’s attorney, Firm Associate Peter F. Berk of Genova Burns lauded the judge’s decision Friday: “The Township of Teaneck is pleased with the court’s decision and hopes that this opinion will provide helpful guidance to other New Jersey municipalities facing similar overreaching demands.”