Arkansas county settles overtime pay lawsuit

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A settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit filed by a former Garland County, Arkansas, sheriff's deputy regarding overtime pay, the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record reports.

Former deputy Robert Baucom filed the class-action lawsuit two years ago, alleging that the county sheriff's office had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay its employees time-and-a-half for every hour they worked that exceeded 40 hours per week. Six other workers later joined the suit, which had been set for trial next month, according to the news source.

In order to avoid a trial, the county - which had denied the allegations - recently agreed to pay $17,500 in attorney's fees for the plaintiffs. County Attorney Ralph Ohm told the newspaper that the parties reached the agreement as an alternative to taking their chances with the jury.

Elsewhere in Arkansas, the Fort Smith board of directors recently voted to lower the weekly overtime threshold for police officers on its payroll, according to the City Wire. Members of the city's police force currently begin receiving overtime pay after they have worked 43 hours in a week. By January 2013, the threshold will be reduced to 40 hours, in line with most other public employees. 

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