Former employee suing county over hours issue


A former Marion County employee is asking for a $75,000 judgment against the county commissioners, alleging they violated federal and state fair labor standards by not properly compensating her for her work.

Roberta ?Bobbi? Strait of Marion, through her attorney Chris Kellogg of Salina, filed the lawsuit May 13 in U.S. District Court.

In her complaint, Strait said she was employed with the county as its director of planning and zoning from July 2006 until her termination in July 2009.

She further claims her job was a full-time salaried position.

Strait alleges that despite this representation, she was treated as an hourly employee when it came to using leave time.

According to the allegations, Strait was required to work 40 hours a week, and anytime she worked less than that, she was required to take sick leave or vacation to make up the difference.

In her allegations, she stated a salaried position wouldn?t require the use of leave to make up missed work because a salaried position is compensated no matter how few or how many hours are woked in a given pay period.

?A short week one week can be made up by working extra hours another week,? the complaint states.

Because the county required Strait to use leave for any time worked less than 40 hours, the allegation is that she was an hourly employee.

Strait further alleges that there were many weeks she worked more than 40 hours and the county refused to pay her for any time over 40.

?(The) county was aware that it was improperly paying Bobbi and willfully refused to pay her proper overtime wages at the time they became due,? the lawsuit further alleges.

The court document further states that the county?s treatment of Strait as an hourly employee and its subsequent refusal to pay her overtime wages is a willful violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and entitles her to damages for the overtime wages, plus liquidated and exemplary damages and attorney fees and cossts.

In addition, the court document alleges the commissioners also violated Kansas State Statute 44-315, which allows for overtime compensation.

As of press time, the commissioners have not responded to the allegations, but have retained David Cooper of Topeka as their attorney.

Efforts to reach Cooper for comment have been unsuccesful.


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