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Corpus Christi utility workers sue for back pay

Some city employees have sued the city for back pay related to on-call duties after hours. The lawsuit charges Corpus Christi with violating the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act for 10 years by requiring on-call services without fair compensation.

Some city utility employees are suing the city of Corpus Christi for up to 10 years of unpaid on-call work in a collective action complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas by Herrman and Herrman Law Firm. The case charges the city with violating the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act by requiring workers to be on call after work hours without sufficient compensation.

The lawsuit seeks compensation for unpaid wages, damages, attorney fees, court costs, and interest on the unpaid wages on behalf of employees in the water, wastewater, and utilities departments.

“Our clients are engaged in a maximum struggle for their minimum owed wages,” said Greg Herrman, managing partner of the Corpus Christi firm in a news release. “These city workers are the backbone of what runs this city and protects its citizens. They ask for nothing more than a fair day's pay for a hard day worked. It's time to put these workers first.”

After-hours, on-call work required employees to monitor their radios and respond to calls within 30 minutes. Refusal to do so resulted in disciplinary action, according to the lawsuit.

Workers were paid for two hours for every 24-hour shift and one hour for each on-call shift worked in addition to a normal work day.

The lawsuit also seeks relief from future unpaid on-call hours. It asks that supervisors be trained not to require the work or to seek retaliation against employees involved in the lawsuit.

City policy does not allow any city officials to comment on ongoing litigation.

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