OAKLAND, Calif. — Dozens of current and former firefighters recently settled an unpaid overtime lawsuit alleging their fire district failed to properly calculate their overtime wages.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs acknowledged the underpayment of overtime wages likely stemmed from accounting errors, rather than intentional misconduct by the district.
The suit, filed in February 2016 in U.S. District Court in Oakland, claims that due to the firefighters unconventional work schedule and laps in calculating premium compensation for holiday hours, tenure, and housing allowances, the plaintiffs were underpaid. While the settlement between the firefighters and district is confidential, sources estimate the total payout to be around $100,000 which includes back wages and legal fees.
The lawsuit named the Southern Marin Fire Protection District as the defendant, asking for back wages dating back to before April 2015. Plaintiffs included firefighters and their union president.
FLSA Pay Period Rules
The plaintiffs in this case worked a non-conventional schedule where individuals worked 48 hours on call and then took four days off. During the firefighters’ 24-day work schedule, this cycle repeated four times for a total of 192-hours per pay period, an average of eight hours per day.
Under the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA), hourly non-exempt workers must be compensated one and a half times their regular rate of pay for time spent working over 168 hours during a pay period. Workers deprived of their overtime due to these types of payroll errors may file unpaid overtime lawsuits under the FLSA to recover up to two years of back wages.
However, should plaintiffs prove their employer knowingly violated the FLSA they may recover up to three years of unpaid overtime wages. Additionally, courts may impose injunctions and oversight on defendants to ensure these types of malicious actions do not occur again in the future.
The FLSA allows workers to recover their unpaid overtime, liquidated damages equal to their lost wages, attorney’s fees, and court costs. Speaking to a qualified unpaid overtime attorney can help plaintiffs understand their legal rights and what they may be able to recover in their suit.
Firefighter and Police Overtime Lawsuits
Call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you feel that you and and other employees believe that your wage rights are being violated under the FLSA. Our top-rated team of unpaid wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action to help you seek justice.
Our office will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. Because strict time limitations apply for filing these types of claims, we advise you contact our experienced unpaid overtime wage attorneys at your earliest convenience and preserve your legal rights.