RICHMOND — After almost two years, a group of Henrico County, Virginia-fire captains may finally get back all their unpaid overtime wages they claim were denied by the county by misclassifying fire captains as overtime exempt workers. A federal judge still needs to approve the deal in an upcoming hearing to ensure the settlement properly compensates the named plaintiffs and other similarly affected workers who could share in the settlement.
Three fire captains who originally brought the suit could recover over $63,000 (includes a $10,000 incentive award) each for making the effort to bring the suit and recover wages on behalf of themselves and other fire captains. Three dozen other fire captains may also split over $240,000 in back wages, which more than likely includes interest and liquidated damages equal to their unpaid overtime.
The settlement comes on the heels of two important developments that more than likely spurred the defendant into settling the case before it court reach a jury and result in a tremendous award. The first important victory for the plaintiffs came months earlier when a federal Court of Appeals reversed a District Court ruling this dismissed the case, holding that the fire captains were in fact misclassified as overtime exempt.
Judges Rule Fire Captains Essential to Fire Fighting Operations
The second was an enormous $7.85 million settlement Fairfax County, Virginia agreed to pay 162 of its fire captains in a similar case. Both Henrico and Fairfax County claimed their fire captains’ administrative duties allowed them to be classified as overtime exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
However, plaintiffs in the two cases each received favorable rulings by Appeals Court judges who determined the fire captains’ duties were so essential to emergency calls they must be classified as overtime eligible workers. In both counties, no engines may leave their stations without a fire captain aboard to oversee operations, giving them more responsibilities than overseeing promotion and disciplinary procedures.
Firefighter Unpaid 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 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.