Corrections officers sued the state this week alleging they are owed millions of dollars in back pay because of a 2012 policy that prevents them from being compensated for perhaps five minutes of work a day.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Dane County Circuit Court, comes less than a month after a state agency found that the policy led the department to underpay a Redgranite Correctional Institution officer. That order would lead to about $1,000 of back pay for the employee, Paul Mertz, but the decision is under administrative appeal by the department.
Building off Mertz's initial victory, officers at 10 other institutions filed their lawsuit. They are asking Judge Rhonda Lanford to declare the case a class action in the hope of securing back pay for more than 3,000 current and former officers.
In early 2012, the department set a policy that said officers would not get paid until they were stationed at their assigned posts. They are not compensated for duties they perform before then, which include going through security screenings, receiving fitness for duty checks and checking out equipment.