After being misclassified for more than a decade, thousands of New York City Police Department sergeants will be eligible for overtime pay, ruled a federal appeals court on Friday.
The unanimous ruling came from the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals panel, which reversed a 2009 decision that held sergeants were not considered non-management members of the police force and not covered under the federal overtime pay regulations as, reported Reuters.
The Federal Labor Standards Act says that non-management employees are entitled to receive overtime pay for any amount of work exceeding the standard 40-hour workweek.
However, employees with considerable management functions are exempt from the Act.
The 2nd Circuit decided that despite management tasks performed by sergeants, their role as first responders on active crime scenes qualifies them for overtime pay.
Since 2001, the city has failed to compensate sergeant for overtime work and in 2004 more than 4,000 NYPD sergeants filed a lawsuit arguing that their supervisory duties did not cancel out their work in the field.
Four months later, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a final interpretation of the FLSA exemption statute. The agency decided that employees with first-responder responsibilities, such as police officers, fire fighters and rescue workers, were entitled to overtime pay.
The case has been sent back to the Southern District, which will determine the amount of retroactive overtime pay due. The amount could date back to April 2001.