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Corrections officers’ suit thrown out

Scott Lauck//May 24, 2011//

Corrections officers’ suit thrown out

Scott Lauck//May 24, 2011//

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A judge has dismissed a federal lawsuit by Missouri prison employees who claimed the state violated their contracts by forcing them to take time off on short notice.

In a ruling issued Monday, U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey said the state’s conduct fell short of the constitutional violations that the Missouri Corrections Officers Association alleged in its lawsuit.

The Corrections Officers Association, a collective bargaining organization for 4,400 officers, negotiated a contract in 2007 that extends through the end of this year. The contract provided that officers must get 14 days’ notice before they can be required to use their accrued time off.

In the 2009 and 2010 fiscal years, the Missouri Legislature reduced the Department of Corrections’ overtime appropriation from $10 million to $5.1 million. As a result, the department began requiring employees to use their overtime almost immediately after it is incurred. Previously, employees could redeem those hours for pay or accumulate them for later use.

The case is Missouri Corrections Officers Association et al. v. Missouri Department of Corrections, 2:10-cv-4168.

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