Colorado Department of Corrections on-call wages $5M collective action lawsuit settlement

The Colorado Department of Corrections agreed to pay $5 million to resolve claims that it failed to pay on-call wages.

The settlement benefits individuals who worked for the Colorado Department of Corrections as community parole officers or team leads and who worked Electronic Monitoring Response Team shifts between May 19, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2020.

the Colorado Department of Corrections is responsible for inmates, managing prisons, overseeing parole and other related programs. The department employs many workers in roles such as counselors, community slogan officers, instructors, team leads, supervisors and more.

According to a 2020 collective action lawsuit, the Colorado Department of Corrections fails to pay its community parole officers and team leads for on-call shifts. Specifically, the department allegedly fails to compensate workers for Electronic Monitoring Response Team work.

the Department of Labor notes on-call work performed outside work premises can be tricky under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). While being on call during breaks or down time at work counts as working hours, this is not always the case with on-call work performed from home.

Although the payment of on-call work is usually determined on a case-by-case basis, plaintiffs in the collective action lawsuit claim that their on-call work is qualified for payment under the FLSA. By failing to compensate them for Electronic Monitoring Response Team shifts, the Colorado Department of Corrections allegedly violated the FLSA.

The Department of Corrections hasn’t admitted any wrongdoing but agreed to pay $5 million to resolve these allegations.

Under the terms of the settlement, collective members can recover a cash payment based on the number of on-call hours they worked.

Payments will represent a proportional share of the settlement fund based on these hours, with higher hours resulting in larger payments. Collective members who received a notice in the mail may have received a payment estimate. These estimates are not available online.

Payments from the Colorado Department of Corrections lawsuit settlement will be treated as back wages, and collective members will receive a W-2 or 1099. Claimants may wish to speak with a tax professional about the tax consequences of their settlement payment.

Forty percent of the settlement fund will be used to pay attorneys’ fees.

The deadline for exclusion is Sept. 2, 2022.

In order to receive a payment, collective members must submit a valid claim form by Sept. 2, 2022, even if they previously opted into the collective action.

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