MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile Police officers assigned to the department’s K-9 unit filed a lawsuit against the City of Mobile claiming they weren’t paid overtime, a violation the Fair Labor Standards Act.
While officers in the K-9 unit receive one hour of overtime on each weekend day and holiday for caring for the dogs, the lawsuit states they get no overtime or additional pay for caring for the dogs on workdays. The lawsuit claims the City of Mobile willfully violated the FSLA by requiring the officers to perform work in excess of 40 hours each week without paying them properly for their overtime.
The lawsuit states that the three officers who are suing the city (Patrick McKean, Joshua Evans, and William Byrd) are the department’s only employees assigned to the K-9 Unit.
The nearly 10-page lawsuit outlines the care the handlers provide for the dogs while not on the clock for the police department. It states “the dogs live at each of the Plaintiffs’ residences, and the Plaintiffs are responsible for their care and maintenance at all times.” It continues, “At any given time, Plaintiffs will have from one to three dogs assigned to their care each day.”
The lawsuit also gives examples of times when the K-9 handlers begin working early. One example given is feeding and watering the dogs.
In total, the lawsuit states K-9 officers spend an hour each day caring for the dogs while they’re off duty, and when the officers have more than one dog, that time could be more than 90 minutes each day.
It gives examples of Sergeant Patrick McKean, on behalf of the K-9 Unit, reaching out to commanding officers complaining about not being compensated for time caring for the dogs on working days.
The lawsuit demands the City of Mobile pay the K-9 Unit for unrecorded overtime work plus interest, post-judgment interest, and liquidated and exemplary damages. The Plaintiffs in the case demand a trial by a jury.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama on July 21.
WKRG News 5 reached out to the City of Mobile for a response to the lawsuit. A spokesperson for the City told WKRG News 5 that the City does not comment on active litigation.