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Haley v. Crittenden County

May 23, 2007

LEON HALEY PLAINTIFF
v.
CRITTENDEN COUNTY, ARKANSAS, A POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THE STATE OF ARKANSAS DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Leon Holmes United States District Judge

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

Leon Haley's claim for overtime compensation pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act came before the Court for trial on April 16, 2007. At the conclusion of the evidence, the defendant requested an opportunity to file a post-trial brief to respond to questions that the Court raised at that time. Both parties have filed their briefs, and the case is now ready for decision.

I.

Haley was employed by Crittenden County, Arkansas, beginning August 17, 1992. He worked in the detention center. He was promoted to Chief Jailer at the detention center in December 2000. He continued as Chief Jailer until September 30, 2002. He is a member of the Arkansas National Guard and went on active duty on October 4, 2002. Haley worked more than 40 hours per week on numerous occasions during his tenure as Chief Jailer, but he was not paid overtime. After he left the employ of the County in 2002, he wrote the Quorum Court and requested $2,705.55 in overtime. The Sheriff and the Jail Administrator objected, contending that Haley was exempt from the overtime provisions of the FLSA. The Quorum Court, however, directed that Haley be paid the sum he requested, and he was paid by three checks issued in February and March of 2003. Now he is seeking additional overtime compensation.

II.

The County contends that Haley was an "employee employed in a bona fide . . . administrative . . . capacity" as defined in 29 C.F.R. § 541.2.*fn1 To be an exempt administrative employee, 29 C.F.R. 541.2 required (1) that the employee's primary duty consist of the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to management policies or the general business operations of his employer; (2) that the employee customarily and regularly exercise discretion and independent judgment; (3) that the employee either regularly assists an employee employed in a bona fide executive or administrative capacity or perform only under general supervision work requiring special training, experience or knowledge; and (4) that the employee devote no more than twenty percent of his hours worked in the workweek to activities which are not directly and closely related to the three preceding job requirements. 29 C.F.R. §§ 541.2(a)(1)-(2), (b), (c)(1)-(2), (d).*fn2

Haley testified that he did not customarily and regularly exercise discretion and independent judgment, that he did only what the Jail Administrator, Bob Bretherick, instructed him to do, and that the daily activities of his job as Chief Jailer were not materially different than the daily activities of a jailer.

On the other hand, the County introduced the job description adopted on February 25, 1999, for the Chief Jailer position, as well as the testimony of the current Chief Jailer, Teresa Bonner. The job description provides:

CLASS TITLE CHIEF JAILER DATE February 25, 1999 CLASS SUMMARY The Chief Jailer works under the administrative direction of the Jail Administrator and is responsible for the security and operation of the jail and the health and welfare of the jailers and inmates. Other responsibilities include training and supervising jailers, directing the activities of inmates and administrative duties. This position is governed by federal and state laws and policies and procedures established by the sheriff's department.

EXAMPLES OF WORK

1. Interview applicants and recommend for hire, monitors and evaluates employee's work performance, approves all requests for leave (sick, vacation, military), makes work schedules and assigns work.

2. Schedules, coordinates and assists with shake down inspections of the jail to eliminate contraband for safety and security. Documents findings and takes appropriate actions.

3. Performs surveillance of the jail, makes decisions about unusual incidents and writes reports ...


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