Appeals court upholds mandatory OT for jail deputies

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Kern County detention officers can be forced to work overtime in civilian jobs in the Lerdo Jail, an appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The decision upholds a Bakersfield judge’s decision that a 2017 contract permits mandatory 12-hour, day-off overtime shifts.

The issue is sworn sheriff’s deputies being forced to cover the shifts of civilian sheriff’s aides.

In 2014, to save money, the county filled 12 vacant detentions officer positions with civilian aides. Those aides work in a jail office and the pre-trial receiving control center.

When there is a manpower shortage among the aides, detention deputies are forced to fill in, according to the appeals opinion.

The Kern County Detention Officers Association sued, alleging the requirement made union members work in positions outside their bargaining unit. They alleged the county refused to bargain in good faith.

Kern County Superior Court Judge Eric Bradshaw disagreed, ruling the forced OT did not violate the contract and its amendments.

The appeals court agreed. Justices noted staffing agreements had been changed several times and this OT issue had not been modified. “Assignment of mandatory overtime is consistent with the agreed-upon policy …”

Justices also ruled the Detention Officers Association should pay the county’s legal fees.

The case is Kern County Detention Officer’s Association v. County of Kern, et al, http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/nonpub/F075449.PDF

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