LOS ANGELES — Over a dozen current and former firefighters for the Marinwood County Fire Department recently filed an unpaid overtime lawsuit against the Marinwood Community Services District, alleging that the defendant withheld overtime wages. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Northern California, seeks three years of unpaid wages plus interest, penalties, and attorneys’ fees to cover the cost of litigating the suit.
First responders like firefighters and police are often the victims of this kind of wage theft as local municipal governments try to bend the rules and keep budgets as small as possible. Fortunately, wage theft victims have the legal right to bring claims and recover all their income.
The heart of the suit claims the defendant intentionally violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by miscalculating the plaintffs’ wages to determine what the firefighters’ rate of overtime pay would be. Under the FLSA, employers must take all of a worker’s wages into consideration when calculating overtime pay, not just their standard hourly rate.
The plaintiffs claim the defendant failed to take into account income like special assignment pay, holiday pay, college incentive pay, and reimbursement for benefit costs, and did so knowingly to avoid higher overtime premium pay. Although the unpaid overtime lawsuit does not list a specific dollar amount of damages, the claim does ask the court compel the defendant to perform an audit to determine just how much the county shorted its firefighters in overtime pay.
In a similar lawsuit brought against the Southern Marin Fire Protection District, the defendant ultimately paid out over $150,000 in unpaid overtime wages to plaintiffs. However, every case is different and it may be too early to speculate on what the potential pay out for a claim this size could be.
Lawsuits like these do more than just recover back pay for wage theft victims. Often times, courts impose injunctions on guilty defendants to safeguard against future wage theft, which facilitates a better work environment and ensures workers are able to take care of their families with all their hard earned pay.
Firefighter Unpaid Overtime Attorney
This case highlight the lengths former employers may go when their employees stand up for their legal rights and bring claims for unpaid overtime wages. Having an experienced overtime lawsuit attorney on one’s side can help navigate these legal pitfalls and give plaintiffs a day in court.
If you believe that your wage rights were violated under the FLSA and may have a claim, call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page. Our law firm has a team of experienced and dedicated overtime wage lawsuit attorneys ready to help you understand your legal rights.