Luder v. Endicott

Date01 June 2001
Published date01 June 2001
Subject MatterArticles
/tmp/tmp-17QkpSwqCBVUpO/input LEGAL BRIEF
Luder v. Endicott
The Fair Labor Standards Act and
Individual Liability of Public Managers
University of Georgia
The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit decided an
important case for public managers on June 15, 2001, addressing the
question of personal liability for individual government managers under the
Fair Labor Standards Act (1994) (FLSA). In Luder v. Endicott (2001), the
court further limited public employees’ choice of remedies under the FLSA,
which had already been dealt a significant setback in Alden v. Maine (1999).
Luder is consistent with the United States Supreme Court’s decisions in
Alden, Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama v. Garrett (2001) and
Kimel v. Florida (1998), all of which applied the Court’s interpretation of the
11th Amendment. Under the reasoning set forth in Luder, state employees
seeking redress for FLSA violations will have to look exclusively to the U.S.
Department of Labor for assistance and advocacy.
The plaintiffs in the Luder class action were 145 hourly employees work-
ing at the Columbia Correctional Institution, a Wisconsin State peniten-
tiary. The defendants were also state employees who worked at Columbia
Correctional Institution, including the warden, one of the deputy wardens,
the personnel manager, and the human resources director. The defendants
controlled and directed the terms and conditions of plaintiffs’ employ-
ment, including pay, overtime, and work hours.
According to the plaintiffs, the defendants required them to perform
essential job duties without compensation before and after their shifts.
Their claim is that they have not been compensated for all of the hours they
have actually worked. This is not an unusual complaint under the FLSA,
Review of Public Personnel Administration, Vol. 21, No. 2 Summer 2001 152-158
© 2001 Sage Publications
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which requires payment for all “hours worked” to covered employees.
Plaintiffs offered a comprehensive list of job duties the defendants required
them to perform while “not on-the-clock.” These included items such as
reporting to supervisors and listening to oral presentations and roll call
announcements; reading the shift brief before the start of the shift; check-
ing, inventorying, and caring for equipment, such as guns; and communi-
cating with the prior shift staff. The plaintiffs also complained about the
lengthy travel time between central control and their assigned posts, wait-
ing to be relieved by the following shift, collecting and reviewing work-
related documents, and other “make-ready,” preshift and postshift work.
More alarming was the allegation that the defendants, or others acting at
their direction, had altered the time sheets of various plaintiffs by crossing
out the actual start and end times reported by the employee and writing in
the shift start and end times.
The parties agreed in the federal trial court that back wages and liqui-
dated damages were available if the plaintiffs could prove that the defen-
dants were not immune from suit and that the defendants violated the
FLSA. The parties could not agree on the possibility of court orders to force
future compliance with the FLSA. Federal trial courts have jurisdiction to
issue court orders restraining violations of the FLSA; however, there is lim-
iting language in the act. The FLSA declares, “Except as provided...

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