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Officers Win Overtime Suit

Forty-nine former and current police officers in Agawam, Mass., may be getting a long awaited check in the mail in the upcoming months.

The officers brought suit against Agawam in 2001, alleging the town's compensation scheme for police officers violates the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by miscalculating the officers' overtime rate.

At issue was the formula the town used to calculate overtime wages. Under the FLSA, overtime compensation must be paid "at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate at which [the employee] is paid." According to court documents, the town employed a method of simply dividing the officer's annual salary by 1950, which is the expected number of regular shift hours during the calendar year, and then multiplying the resulting hourly rate by one and one-half. Although similar to FLSA standards, Agawam's formula excluded incentives from its calculation, in effect lowering the officer's overtime rate.

A Massachusetts judge granted summary judgment July 14 for the plaintiffs, finding that the town violated FLSA standards as a matter of law. The judge set Sept. 8 as the deadline for defendants to respond.

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