Jeffco deputies sue for alleged unpaid wages

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At least 10 deputies from the Jeffco Sheriff’s office have filed a complaint in federal district court against Sheriff Ted Mink and the Board of County Commissioners.

The county attorneys have filed a motion to dismiss the case in response.

The deputies’ complaint was filed in December 2012. They claim that under the Fair Labor Standards Act, they are entitled to unpaid wages from the county for overtime work.

The Fair Labor Standards Act passed by Congress in 1938 set the standards and regulations of operations between employer and worker including minimum wage, overtime compensation and other additional provisions.

State law dictates the sheriff is responsible for setting salaries and wages for employees subject to the approval of the commissioners according to state statute.

According to the complaint, the sheriff allegedly published set salaries and wages in a posted document titled “Salary Schedule.”

Plaintiffs argue the salaries listed on the schedules posted for the years 2010, 2011, and 2012 are not the amount they received for those years. Attorneys for the plaintiffs argue that both the salary schedule, and the policy and procedures manual constituted a promise made by the county to the plaintiffs.

In a brief interview with Sheriff Ted Mink he stated the “Salary Schedule” was not a document reflecting promised salary rates, but an internal document based on the results of a countywide salary survey conducted by a consulting firm hired by the commissioners.

The results were used as a basis for what their step-in-grade program should be, and was never publicly posted or published by Sheriff Mink.

“It was only a recommendation that we put together internally,” Sheriff Mink said and those recommendations were never funded by the commissioners.

Pat Gilbert, county attorney, argues in the latest motion that “any alleged promises to pay is unenforceable because the commissioners did not approve the salary schedule as required,” and plaintiffs have not provided sufficient facts to show their rates of pay were salary scheduled rates.

“We don’t believe they stated a federal claim for an overtime violation,” Gilbert said.

Counsel for the plaintiff’s did not comment by press time.

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