I recently argued a motion to compel in Cole County against the Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC); I won each of the 9 points we raised. We represent a class of corrections officers who did not receive compensation for pre and post shift activity, or donning and doffing. This is the time it takes them to pass through metal detectors, get their keys and radios, and walk back to their area of the prison to relieve the prior worker.
These activities are necessary to their job and their bosses admit it is an important process. It takes half an hour each day for the officers to complete this activity; however, they are not receiving compensation. I wrote about this case here.
We will try this case in March and hope to be successful. The reason I had to argue for the motion to compel documents is that I am only six weeks away from trial and although the court already ordered the production of the documents, I am still waiting. This kind of delay seems to be common and the Missouri Attorney General has been sanctioned for not complying with orders to produce information and documents, according to a recently published St. Louis Post-Dispatch article.
The DOC have had several rulings against them for other bad employment practices — you can see those here:
- White Missouri prison worker wins $1.4M lawsuit over racial discrimination complaint
- DOC Harassment Claims Cost Missouri $7.5 Million from 2012 to 2016, Pitch Reports
- Missouri corrections employees describe hellish work environments, incompetent leaders
However, they do not seem to be changing their ways. We will keep fighting.