A group of more than 100 Kentucky State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officers and supervisors filed a civil lawsuit in Franklin Circuit Court Monday claiming wage discrimination.
Both KSP and Commissioner Rodney Brewer are named as defendants in the case.
The lawsuit alleges that the officers are “compensated at a substantially lower rate of pay than Kentucky State Police troopers and cadets.”
It goes on to say that as Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officers, the plaintiffs perform the same or similar duties as troopers and cadets
Commercial Vehicle Enforcement is a division of state police, staffed with sworn officers, weight and safety inspectors and civilian staff, according to KSP’s website.
The site said the officers enforce state and federal laws and regulations, focusing on commercial vehicles.
All 107 plaintiffs — current and former Commercial Vehicle
Enforcement employees — are seeking an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages.
The lawsuit comes less than two weeks after Brewer denied a grievance collectively filed by the plaintiffs, asking for the issue to be handled on an administrative level.
In his response to the grievance, Brewer stated that troopers’ qualifications, requirements and duties are different than those of the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officers, even though both may be sworn officers.
“Kentucky State Troopers undergo a very competitive, rigorous selection process and training program that by virtue of completing gives them a different set of knowledge, skills and abilities,” Brewer wrote in the response.
“Although CVE Officers are sometimes used for duties traditionally assigned to Troopers, these instances are infrequent and mostly in a support capacity.”
According to KSP’s website, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officers train for 18 weeks at the Department of Criminal Justice Training unless they completed the training prior to being hired. They also receive four weeks of concentrated commercial vehicle law training.
Troopers undergo 23 weeks of training at KSP’s academy in Frankfort. They live at the academy during the workweek, where they take part in both academic and physical fitness training.
Also in the response to the grievance, Brewer highlighted a number of actions he said he has taken to increase the overall pay and benefits for Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officers.
He stated he created a promotion opportunity for eligible officers by implementing a new rank of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer II.
Brewer also claimed he provided per diem and clothing allowances for eligible officers, and he pointed out that CVE officers are allowed overtime opportunities at a higher volume than troopers.
Neither Brewer, nor a KSP spokesperson, could be reached Tuesday for comment on the lawsuit.