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State Patrol lieutenants sue, say they are owed overtime pay

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More than 50 lieutenants in the Minnesota State Patrol have filed a federal lawsuit saying they are owed overtime wages from the state.

According to KFGO, the lawsuit claims the lieutenants should be paid overtime, just as their subordinates are. The suit was filed recently on behalf of 51 officers who are stationed around the state.

State Patrol officers and sergeants are paid overtime, according to the plaintiffs' attorney Gregg Corwin.

The lieutenants are of a higher rank and are considered field supervisors. They're classified as "exempt" employees and therefore aren't entitled to receive overtime pay.

But Corwin argues the lieutenants should also be paid overtime since most of their work is patrol duty, the same as lower-ranked employees, KFGO reports.

The Department of Labor generally governs when workers are entitled to overtime pay or not, and the distinction depends on the duties expected of them.

The lieutenants fall under the Labor Department's "executive exemption," according to Corwin.

Here's how the government describes the tasks of an "executive" employee, who would be ineligible to receive overtime pay:

  • The employee’s primary duty must be managing the enterprise, or managing a customarily recognized department or subdivision of the enterprise;
  • The employee must customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two or more other full-time employees or their equivalent; and
  • The employee must have the authority to hire or fire other employees, or the employee’s suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion or any other change of status of other employees must be given particular weight.

Corwin said he will ask for his clients to be awarded three years of back pay. The exact amount of damages being sought is still being calculated, he told KFGO.

The Department of Public Safety is reviewing the lawsuit, but declined to comment, according to the Associated Press.

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