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Geiger Corrections Center omitted meal breaks for officers, lawsuit says

A Geiger Corrections Center officer has filed a class-action lawsuit against Spokane County alleging that he was not given meal breaks as required by law.

Terry Dickinson has been employed as a correctional officer at Geiger since 2005, according to the lawsuit, which was filed last week.

The lawsuit also applies to any other Geiger workers who were in the same circumstances as Dickinson.

He contends that beginning in June 2010 he and other officers were not provided a meal break. Starting in 2011, the plaintiffs were required to remain at their work site while they ate lunch.

“Plaintiffs are not merely on-call during this period, but are oftentimes called upon to perform duties beyond on-call status,” the lawsuit said.

That resulted in them working more than 40 hours a week without additional pay, including overtime wages.

The suit said the plaintiff will seek an injunction to stop the practices. The plaintiff also will ask for a certification of the class action under court rule.

The suit seeks repayment equal to double the unpaid wages plus attorney costs.

Jim Emacio, the county’s chief civil deputy prosecuting attorney, said he had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment.

Steve Bartel, the county’s risk manager, said he also had not seen the lawsuit. He said the county is not obliged to allow officers to leave their work site if they provide a place for meals.


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