Allen v. City of Chicago, No. 16-1029 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, current and former members of the Chicago Police Department’s Bureau of Organized Crime, claim that the Bureau did not compensate them for work they did off-duty on their mobile electronic devices (Blackerrys). The judge concluded that the Bureau did not prevent plaintiffs from requesting payment for non-scheduled overtime work and did not know that plaintiffs were not being paid for it. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. 201, requires employers to pay covered employees at one-and-a-half times their usual pay rate if they are employed for longer than a certain hourly threshold. Employers must pay for all work they know about, even if they did not ask for the work, even if they did not want the work done, and even if they had a rule against doing the work. That strict rule “stops short of requiring the employer to pay for work it did not know about and had no reason to know about.” The plaintiffs did not establish the existence of an unwritten policy not to compensate them for off-duty work performed on their BlackBerrys. No one ever told plaintiffs not to submit slips for that work, and no one was ever reprimanded or disciplined for submitting such slips.