Settlement approved in corrections officer wage lawsuit

Friday, April 15, 2016, Vol. 40, No. 16

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Metro Council has approved a $2.1 million settlement to end a legal dispute about how corrections officers are paid.

The council approved the settlement Tuesday, reported the Tennessean (

Under the settlement, $1.9 million is because of a misinterpretation of the Metro pay plan, and $200,000 to pay officers who said they worked past their regular shifts. Of the $200,000, Sheriff Don Hall said $45,000 pays the officers and the remainder pays legal fees.

More than 800 corrections officers working in five jail facilities sued, contending that they were not paid hourly rates outlined in Metro's pay plan. The city argued that the employees were paid based on a salary that was also listed in the plan.

The issue was unique and affected only corrections officers, said Metro Law Director Jon Cooper. In the early 2000s, they were put into their own payment class in the pay plan. Language saying corrections officers were salaried employees was mistakenly left out but has been added since then.

"It's now been corrected both in the pay plan and the pay stub," Cooper said.

A jury ruled in the correction officers' favor in August.

According to Cooper, the settlement was a business decision from Metro to avoid the possibility of paying a greater amount, but was not an acknowledgement of wrongdoing.

U.S. District Court Chief Kevin H. Sharp has to approve the settlement before it is final.