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Clark County bailiffs to settle lawsuit over unpaid overtime

Updated September 2, 2017 - 6:38 pm

All of Clark County’s bailiffs would receive raises as part of a lawsuit settlement expected to be approved by the County Commission next week.

Also known as deputy marshals, the approximately 130 bailiffs covered by the settlement are state-certified law enforcement officers who keep order in the county’s courts. Under the agreement, they would each receive either a 3 percent raise or a pay increase to $23.35 an hour, whichever is greater.

The settlement also would increase the maximum hourly wage a bailiff can be paid from about $31 to $36.20.

“The (bailiffs) have felt for a long time they were clearly underpaid based on other local law enforcement agencies in Clark County,” said Daniel Marks, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs. “These raises were long overdue.”

Assistant County Manager Jeff Wells called the settlement of the 5-year-old federal lawsuit a win for all parties.

“We get rid of a lawsuit, we solve an issue that’s been nagging the court for years, and we do get a pay increase for the folks who are working hard,” he said.

The raises are estimated to cost the county and courts about $375,000 annually. The settlement also calls for another $100,000 to be split equally among all the bailiffs and $150,000 to be paid to their attorneys, Marks said.

Unpaid overtime

A group of 10 bailiffs filed the lawsuit in July 2012, claiming that the county had violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying them for all hours they worked. The disputed hours included their daily hourlong lunch breaks, even though they were required to stay at the courthouse, in uniform and on call.

They also alleged they accumulated unpaid overtime during mandatory after-work training to upgrade their state law-enforcement certification. That claim was settled in 2013 for approximately $200,000.

The unpaid lunch claim was addressed in the new settlement. However, bailiffs still will not be paid for their lunch hour.

The courts are also implementing a time-clock system used by the rest of the county to more accurately track all hours worked by bailiffs.

“Anyone who works any overtime gets compensated for it,” Wells said.

Supreme Court case continues

Another case involving the bailiffs remains before the Nevada Supreme Court.

That case asks the court to determine whether the bailiff’s union, the Clark County Deputy Marshals Association, has the right to bargain a contract with the county. The union has been seeking to do so since 2010 in the face of opposition from the county.

The crux of the issue is whether the bailiffs are court or county employees. County employees are entitled to collective bargaining rights; court employees are not.

The Nevada Local Government Employee-Management Relations Board ruled that the bailiffs were court employees in January 2014. The county pays the bailiff’s salaries, but the courts are in control of their day-to-day duties and can fire them.

Union President Randy Hawkes declined to comment on the ongoing case.

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at sdavidson@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.

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