TEANECK - A federal appeals panel has ruled that Teaneck police will not get paid for the time it takes to put on their uniforms, and public opinion is mixed on the idea.
A group of 88 current and former officers filed a suit in 2009 claiming they were being cheated out of overtime pay. They argued they should have been paid for time spent attending daily roll calls and changing in and out of their uniforms.
A lower court ruled in favor of the town in 2012, so the case went to the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. That court upheld the decision Tuesday, saying putting on and taking off their uniforms is not an activity specified in their union contract.
Many jobs require uniforms, and some, like Sharon Lieberman, don't think changing time warrants the extra pay. "I think it's just part of the job," she says. "I don't think nurses get paid to put on their uniform."
Eli Goldberg disagrees with the ruling. "I think I would pay them to change," he says. "I've done a lot of shift work and it's part of the job."
Teaneck Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin applauds the decision, but says defending the lawsuit cost taxpayers about $500,000.