One of the featured stories on Employment Law This Week – Epstein Becker Green’s new video program – is that there will be no BlackBerry overtime pay for cops in Chicago.
A federal magistrate judge in the Northern District of Illinois ruled that time spent by Chicago police officers actually answering emails on their BlackBerries was work eligible for overtime. However, “monitoring” of their BlackBerries was not work because the officers were still free to use the time predominantly for their own benefit. Regardless, the judge found that the City did not know the employees were doing any work, and the officers failed to report it, so the workers were not entitled to any compensation. There is reportedly a plan to appeal. In mid-2015, the Wage & Hour Division requested information regarding the use of portable electronic devices by employees outside of scheduled work hours, so this issue is one to watch.