A former West Feliciana Parish Police Jury technology manager claims in a federal lawsuit he was fired for questioning why he was classified as a salaried employee and not eligible for overtime pay.
Robert Reinhardt seeks overtime pay for the hours he said he worked from January 2009 to July 2010, plus damages and attorney fees.
His petition, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, also said he is entitled to a state-imposed penalty equal to 90 days of wages.
Reinhardt pleaded “no contest” on June 7 to an amended charge of unauthorized use of a Police Jury access card. A state district judge deferred sentencing on the condition Reinhardt make restitution to the Police Jury and pay a $200 fine and court costs.
The charge was amended from a felony to a misdemeanor.
The state Legislative Auditor’s Office alleged in a December report that Reinhardt cashed in reward certificates from a jury Office Depot credit card for personal purchases totaling $235 in October and November 2010.
The auditors’ report says Reinhardt also used jury credit cards for computer-related purchases totaling $229,535, but the auditors said some purchases were made without approved purchase orders and some were not supported by bids or quotes required by law.
Reinhardt denied the auditors’ allegations, saying the report used “inaccuracies and flat untruths” to paint a negative image of his department.
In his lawsuit, Reinhardt said his primary duties with the jury centered on a “technical support helpdesk” at $38.88 per hour. His duties were not subject to overtime pay exemptions under federal law, but he worked an average of 60 hours a week for more than two years, the petition says.
The lawsuit says when he questioned his pay status, Reinhardt’s manager told him to limit his hours to 40 hours a week, and the conversation ended.
Reinhardt alleges he was fired in retaliation shortly after the discussion.