Allegheny County Jail captain files class action lawsuit against county for unpaid wages |

Allegheny County Jail captain files class action lawsuit against county for unpaid wages

Theresa Clift
Jeremy Boren | Tribune-Review
Allegheny County Jail

An Allegheny County Jail captain is suing the county claiming it has stopped compensating him and other captains at the jail for overtime.

Captains are not allowed to receive overtime pay for working more than 40 hours a week, like the jail guards they oversee do, the lawsuit stated.

The county used to allow captains to accure “comp time” when they worked more than 40 hours a week so they could work a shorter week later with full pay, but stopped that practice in 2018.

William Yates, 56, of McCandless, who filed the lawsuit last week in federal court, claims he was left with 170 hours of comp time that he was not paid for or given paid time off for, according to the lawsuit. He was hired as a jail captain in March 2016.

Amie Downs, a spokeswoman for the county, declined comment on the lawsuit.

Yates regularly arrives about 20 minutes before his shift starts to prepare and sometimes must attend 30-minute meetings before his shift but is never paid for either, the lawsuit said.

During the past three years, the jail has employed more than 30 captains, and none were paid overtime despite many worked more than 40 hours a week, the lawsuit said.

There are currently about a dozen captains employed at the jail. Jail captains make about $80,000.

The county does not maintain accurate records of all time worked by jail captains, the complaint said.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Yates and “all similarly situated employees,” claims violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act and the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law.

It seeks to recover damages for unpaid wages.

On Wednesday, the case was reassigned from U.S. District Judge David S. Cercone to U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab.

Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5669, [email protected] or via Twitter @tclift.

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