ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — A former cadet at the Albuquerque Police Academy is suing the city in federal court, claiming he was not paid for overtime worked.
"It's troubling to me to see the police department routinely ignore a federal law," said attorney Shane Youtz.
Youtz said his client, Joshua Morrish, was forced to work up to five extra hours a week for fre, while he was employed at the academy late 2010 to early 2011. In the lawsuit, Morrish alleges he was told he could not submit pay slips for overtime when he tried to.
Youtz said it's not only unfair but illegal. The lawsuit asks for back pay, compensatory, exemplary and punitive damages.
"Employees who go through the police academy are expected to perform more than 40 hours of work per week but are not paid for more than 40 hours per week," said Youtz.
Albuquerque police cadets are required to work eight hours a day, 40 hours a week at $18.24 an hour. By law, they're required to be paid time-and-a-half for overtime.
Youtz is presenting this as a collective action lawsuit, which means other cadets who feel they were underpaid can join in if a federal judge certifies it. According to court documents, Youtz said it could affect up to 150 current and former cadets.
But the city denies any wrongdoing. City Attorney David Tourek wouldn't say much, citing pending litigation, but said he believes the city doesn't owe Morrish a dime.
"It's basically time for studying is what (Morrish) says he should be paid for and for free time," said Tourek.
Morrish was released from the academy about halfway through the six-month course. Neither his attorney nor the city would tell KRQE News 13 why.
The city would not answer on whether it believes this is a case of a disgruntled ex-worker, saying it cannot comment on personnel matters.
Copyright 2013 KRQE TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Did you like this article? Vote it up or down! And don't forget to add your comments below!
New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.