Another Lawsuit Against HPD Alleging Labor Law Violations

Tenari Maafala
Tenari Maafala

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- After a costly settlement just two years ago, the Honolulu Police Department is once again accused of violating federal labor laws.

This week, officers seeking payment for overtime work are receiving information on how to participate in the class-action suit.

From chasing the bad guys to writing reports, officers say it's not unusual for them to work beyond their scheduled shift.

"There's a lot of times where the officers don't put in a card for (overtime)," Tenari Maafala, State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers president, said. "And whether it's 15 minutes, sometimes it's an hour or couple hours that the officers would stay back on their own time to finish up their reports."

The Honolulu Police Department is once again accused of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. The federal lawsuit alleges officers haven't been paid for all overtime hours they've worked, that officers haven't been paid the correct overtime rate, and that the city's rules about compensatory time off violate the law.

"These officers that are part of the second suit obviously would have to provide or produce the documents to justify their claims," Maafala said.

Two years ago, the city settled a similar suit by agreeing to pay police and firefighters $30 million in back overtime.

The new case is moving forward this week, as officers begin receiving sealed envelopes containing information about the class-action lawsuit and how to join in.

"It's a credit to the city and the department as well as the SHOPO in supporting our officers that didn't enroll in the first lawsuit," Maafala said.

But police chief Boisse Correa sent an e-mail to his staff Wednesday. In it, he says the city denies the allegations and intends to vigorously defend against the claims.

"I haven't seen that letter yet," Maafala said. "And if in fact that true, then that's their position."

The plaintiffs' attorneys say more than 100 employees have already joined the suit.

The case is set for trial in January of next year.