NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A group of current and former New haven, CT firefighters filed suit against the New Haven Fire Department for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The plaintiffs are composed of 174 current and former firefighters who are seeking a jury trial and are requesting back pay and liquidated damages. They allege that the Fire Department failed to pay them overtime due to the miscalculation of overtime pay dates.
According to the plaintiffs, they were entitled to time-and-a-half overtime pay for all hours worked over 212 hours within one 28-day work period under FLSA. However, the plaintiffs allege that they were assigned to work three 10-hour shifts, followed by three days and nights off, followed by three 14-hour shifts, followed again by three days and nights off. Additionally, the plaintiffs alleged that they routinely worked additional hours that, all in all, caused the work in excess of 212 hours in a work period. One of the plaintiffs claimed that he worked 298 hours in one work period within the suit’s timeframe. However, they were not paid time-and-a-half overtime pay for those excess hours.
The International Association of Firefighters contributed a $15,000 grant to help the plaintiffs with the legal costs of the lawsuit. Additionally, the plaintiffs believe that more firefighters will join the 174 who have already signed on to the suit.
State and Local Government Agencies Under FLSA
FLSA covers all public agency employees of a State, a political subdivision of a State, or an interstate government agency, including firefighters. That means that the minimum wage and overtime protections of the law apply. Additionally, fire protection personnel, which includes firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, etc., are not limited on the amount of nonexempt work that they can perform. They may, at their own option, perform special duty work in fire protection for a separate and independent employer without including the wages and hours in regular rate or overtime determinations for the primary public employer. Fire Departments may establish a work period ranging from 7 to 28 days in which overtime need be paid only after a specified number of hours in each work period.
FLSA also provides that fire protection employees may be paid overtime on a “work period” basis. This period may be from 7 consecutive days to 28 consecutive days long. For those periods that are at least 7 days but less than 28 days, overtime pay is required when the number of hours worked exceeds the number of hours that bears the same relationship to 212 as the number of days in the work period bears to 28. Also, fire protection employees may be paid compensatory time by a State, and may accrue up to 480 hours of compensatory time.
If you believe you have been unlawfully deprived of minimum wage or overtime under FLSA, you may be entitled to back pay and other damages for your employer’s violations. You should 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 have been deprived of your wage rights. Our top-rated team of wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action. We will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. There are strict time limitations for filing, so it is important that you call our experienced attorneys today.