Ruling That State Shorted Prison Guard's Pay Could Cost Wisconsin Millions

The state could have to pay millions of dollars to prison guards in the wake of a decision by a state equal rights official who determined that the Department of Corrections shorted an officer 35 minutes of pay a week and must pay him back wages for more than a year.
July 22, 2013
 

The state could have to pay millions of dollars to prison guards in the wake of a decision by a state equal rights official who determined that the Department of Corrections shorted an officer 35 minutes of pay a week and must pay him back wages for more than a year.

A Department of Corrections spokeswoman said Friday the agency would appeal the decision.

The department set a new policy last year that meant officers did not get paid until they showed up at their posts, even though they had to check in for a roll call before that. Paul Mertz, an officer at Redgranite Correctional Institution, filed a complaint with the state Labor Standards Bureau contending he was being shorted pay because of the policy.

The bureau this month ruled Mertz had been denied pay in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and ordered the department to pay him back pay equivalent to 35 minutes of work a week. It also ordered the department to change how it pays all Redgranite officers starting next month.

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