Juan Garza worked for the city’s Wastewater Department for 27 years. Before retiring last year, Garza spent countless weekends on call. Weekends Garza claims he was never paid for.
“They knew about the on-call pay,” said Garza. “We weren’t getting paid because, I don’t know, somebody dropped the ball or something.”
According to the city’s Classification and Compensation Procedures, on-call employees receive two hours pay for every 24 hour on call shift while off-duty. Employees are due one hours’ pay when on-call in addition to their normal work day.
“You can’t go out of town, you can’t do anything,” said Garza. “No enjoying weekends or anything like that, you’ve got to stay on call.”
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, alleges the city violated the federal Fair Standards Labor Act.
It started with four plaintiffs, including Garza. That number is now up to 20, and includes both current and former employees.
Attorney Josh Hopkins, or Hermann & Hermann, says all of the plaintiffs worked for the Wastewater Department.
“The city has a policy about on-call pay, but they applied it unequally to these workers, and that’s what’s wrong,” said Hopkins, one of the attorneys working on the case.
Because of statutes of limitations, Garza can only get three years worth of back pay if he wins.
He says he and his fellow plaintiffs just want what they feel they’re owed.
“We’re not asking for nothing else, just what belongs to us, said Garza. “That’s it, to get paid what we didn’t get paid.”
When reached for comment, a city spokesperson said the city does not comment on legal matters.