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Allen v. City of Chicago
United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
2015 WL 8493996 (2015)
Jeffrey Allen (plaintiff) was a sergeant in the Chicago Police Department (CPD) assigned to the CPD’s Bureau of Organized Crime (BOC). Allen filed a lawsuit on behalf of himself and other BOC personnel (collectively, officers) against the City of Chicago (city) (defendant). The officers alleged that the CPD required them to use CPD-issued BlackBerry devices to engage in work-related communications while they were off duty without compensation. Official CPD policy pertaining to off-duty work, including use of the BlackBerrys, was that officers had to be on a call-back assignment or otherwise receive prior approval in order to be compensated for off-duty work. During the period relevant to the lawsuit, the CPD updated the policy to specify that officers should not use their CPD-issued BlackBerrys when off duty unless they were on a call-back assignment or were directed to do so by a supervisor. To receive compensation, officers who performed off-duty work had to submit time-due slips. Notwithstanding the official policy, officers routinely performed off-duty work on their BlackBerrys, often without prior approval, and often without submitting time-due slips. Some officers stated that they did not submit time-due slips because there was an understanding within the BOC that such work would not be compensated. Other officers did submit time-due slips and were compensated for off-duty work performed on their BlackBerrys, regardless of whether the work conformed to the policy. Supervisors were often unaware that officers were engaging in off-duty work activities on their BlackBerrys, and the officers did not complain to any supervisor about the uncompensated time. Some of the officers’ off-duty activities were not urgent and could have waited until they were on duty. Other activities, such as responding to confidential informants, had to be done immediately.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Shenkier, J.)
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