In a recent case out of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, a federal judge entered summary judgment for the City of Fort Worth in an FLSA overtime case filed by four former police officers.   

In Clark v. City of Fort Worth, Texas, four retired City of Fort Worth police officers filed a FLSA putative collective action seeking to represent a class of current and former officers for unpaid overtime they claimed they worked when they provided security services for third-parties leasing City properties (e.g., events at the City owned convention center).  According to the plaintiffs, these off-duty hours providing security for sporting events and concerts on City property (but for non-City events) should have been added to their regular official law enforcement hours with any work over forty hours per week being paid at overtime rates.  The City moved for summary judgment arguing that the special detail exemption excluded those hours worked for the separate employers and that no overtime was due and owing.  There are only six reported cases involving the special detail exemption so this opinion is important if for no other reason than to add to the scant case law on the issue.

The special detail exemption applies to law enforcement and fire fighter employees who voluntarily perform work for separate and independent employers.  Under the exemption, the hours voluntarily worked for the separate and independent employer are excluded from the officer’s hours worked on behalf of the the primary employer for FLSA overtime purposes.  In a well-reasoned opinion, the federal judge presiding over the case, concluded that the City has established its affirmative defense that the hours sued on were exempt under the special detail exemption and entered a judgment in favor of the City. 

You can download a copy of the Court’s opinion here.

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