Firefighters in Pelham, Alabama have filed a lawsuit against the department alleging that their work schedule violates the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The act requires that firefighters who work more than 52 hours per week, or on average more than 212 hours in an 28 day (4 week) stretch, receive either overtime compensation or compensatory time off.
According to the suit, Pelham firefighters work a typical three shift schedule of 24 hours on, 48 hours off, which averages 56 hours per week. The problem is the city requires the firefighters to take compensatory time in lieu of overtime, and then restricts their opportunities to use that time when they request it.
The FLSA mandates that employers who use comp time in lieu of overtime (1) obtain the agreement of employees to accept comp time and (2) allow the employee to use the accrued time within a reasonable period of time after it is earned, provided it would not unduly disrupt operations.
The suit seeks class action status for all current and former firefighters in Pelham since 2003.