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by Mark Reutter5:00 pmAug 30, 20210

City to pay $3.45 million to settle unfair labor practices lawsuit by police union

Lodge 3 of the Fraternal Order of Police filed the action in 2016, alleging that the city’s formula for calculating overtime shortchanged officers

Above: Baltimore police respond last year to a protest in front of Mayor Jack Young’s house. (Louis Krauss)

The Board of Estimates will pay out $3.45 million on Wednesday to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by the Fraternal Order of Police for alleged overtime pay violations.

Some 2,425 current and former police officers will share $2.8 million in the settlement, with an additional $650,000 going to Schlachman, Belsky, Weiner & Davey, attorneys representing Lodge 3 of FOP.

The lawsuit, Butler v. Baltimore Police Department, stems from the former city practice of not paying 11 minutes (for those working patrol) and 15 minutes (for those working non-patrol) after the end of a shift.

The union asserted the practice violated the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act by not using “hours worked” to compute overtime.

At the time Baltimore was paying $50 million or more annually in police overtime (see chart below).

But the union said the formula was illegally depressing overtime rates.

police overtime chart fy12-17

Filed in 2016

The lawsuit was filed in September 2016 at the end of the Rawlings-Blake administration.

FOP alleged monetary damages as high as $14.8 million, while the city maintained the officers were collectively shortchanged about $4 million.

BPD changed the calculation of the overtime rate and, earlier this month, the parties agreed to a settlement mediated by U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Mark Coulson.

While back pay to individual officers will average out to $1,115, the vast majority will receive between $100 and $500 each.

A handful of officers will get payments of $5,000 to as much as $34,449 in one case.

The payees are only identified in court records by their badge numbers.

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