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Wheeler v. Hampton Township

February 24, 2005

WILLIAM WHEELER, II, AN INDIVIDUAL, AND ROBERT J. LOMB, AN INDIVIDUAL, ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND OTHER INDIVIDUALS SIMILARLY SITUATED, APPELLANTS
v.
HAMPTON TOWNSHIP,



On appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania District Court No. 03-cv-00976 Chief District Judge: The Honorable Donetta W. Ambrose

Before: Roth, Smith, and Becker, Circuit Judges

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Smith, Circuit Judge

PRECEDENTIAL

Argued November 18, 2004

OPINION OF THE COURT

This appeal arises out of a suit filed by the full-time police officers of Hampton Township, Pennsylvania to recover overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA" or "the Act"). 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-19 (2004). The officers contend that the Township's method of calculating overtime shortchanged them under the FLSA, even though they agreed to that method in a collective bargaining agreement. The Township argues that, while the officers bargained away in the agreement one of their rights under the FLSA, the Township overcompensated the officers by bargaining away a more valuable right under the FLSA and thus offset the Township's liability under the Act. The District Court upheld the Township's position, holding that the collective bargaining agreement satisfies the overall requirements of the FLSA, even though it contains concessions by both parties not envisioned in the Act. We conclude that the FLSA does not support applying the Township's alleged concession as an offset, and therefore we will reverse the judgment of the District Court.*fn1

I.

A.

The genesis of this dispute is a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") that established the terms of employment for the full-time police officers ("the Officers") of Hampton Township from January 2000 through December 2003.*fn2 While the parties agree on how the CBA calculates overtime, they sharply disagree over whether the CBA's calculation provides all the overtime required under the FLSA.

The CBA provides as follows. The Officers are entitled to a specified "basic annual salary," which varies according to the officers' rank, and annual percentage raises to that salary. For example, a starting patrolman under the CBA received a basic annual salary of approximately $37,000 in 2000, $38,000 in 2001, and $39,000 in 2002. A normal workweek under the CBA is five consecutive days in any seven day period, and a normal work day lasts eight consecutive hours in any 24-hour period.

Overtime pay is provided under the CBA for work over eight hours in a single workday, and for work over 40 hours in a single workweek. Overtime pay rates are calculated by dividing the officers' basic annual salary by 2,080 and multiplying the resulting figure by 1.5. To illustrate, a starting patrolman in 2000 earning $37,000 who worked 10 extra hours (i.e., 50 total hours) in a given week would be entitled to $266.90 ( $37,000/2,080 = $17.79 x 1.5 = $26.69 x 10 = $266.90 ) in overtime payments for that week.

The CBA provides two other broad categories of remuneration that are relevant to the present dispute. First, the CBA provides pay for certain non-working time ("non-work pay"), including

ù 11 paid annual holidays (e.g., New Year's Day, Memorial Day, etc.),

ù 2 paid annual personal days,

รน paid annual vacations of varying length depending ...


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