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Lawsuit: Officers not paid for pre-work security screenings

April 5, 2019
FILE - This July 23, 2014 file photo shows a state prison in Florence, Ariz. A lawsuit alleges the state of Arizona isn't paying overtime to corrections officers for having to spend an average of 30 minutes before each shift undergoing security screenings to ensure that no contraband is brought into prisons. The civil case filed Tuesday, April 2, 2019, by Corrections Officers Clinton Roberts and Donna Christopher-Hall would cover other Arizona corrections officers if a judge approves the lawsuit's proposed class-action status. (AP Photo/File)

PHOENIX (AP) — A lawsuit alleges the state of Arizona isn’t paying overtime to corrections officers for having to spend an average of 30 minutes before each shift undergoing security screenings to ensure that no contraband is brought into prisons.

The civil case filed Tuesday by Corrections Officers Clinton Roberts and Donna Christopher-Hall would cover other Arizona corrections officers if a judge approves the lawsuit’s proposed class-action status.

The lawsuit said the number of officers affected by the practice is unknown. It doesn’t specify the amount of money being sought by the officers.

Michael Napier, a lawyer representing the officers, didn’t immediately return a call Thursday afternoon seeking comment on the lawsuit.

The state is accused in the lawsuit of violating an Arizona law that generally requires law enforcement officers to be paid overtime when they work more than 40 hours per week.

The Arizona Department of Corrections had no immediate comment Thursday afternoon on the lawsuit.

Officers must stand in line while waiting to be screened, empty their bags and purses and go through a scanner before they are transported to their work location. Then the screening process is repeated, the suit said.

Last summer, a jury decided Missouri correction officers should be compensation for entrance and exit security procedures they must perform every day before and after their shifts. The jury awarded $113 million to 13,000 current corrections officers or those who worked at the Department of Corrections since 2007.

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