Author Archives: Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

Pennsylvania Fire Law: Criminal Edition

Two criminal cases from Pennsylvania are in the fire law news today. Both involve 21-year-old volunteer firefighters. In Redstone Township, fire captain George A. Matis stands charged with criminal homicide in the shooting death of junior firefighter Parker Hess in the fire station.

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Federal Court Blocks Enforcement of New FLSA Overtime Rules

A federal judge in Texas has issued a preliminary injunction against the implementation of new overtime rules for exempt white-collar employees that were set to take effect on December 1, 2016. What the ruling means to fire departments really depends on the department. For most fire departments, the ruling...

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ACLU Sues RI Fire District For Gender Discrimination

Two Rhode Island firefighters supported by the Rhode Island affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union are suing their former fire department and fire chief for sex discrimination. Kimberly Perreault and Linda Ferragamo claim that they were terminated from the Harmony Fire District after they spoke out about unfair conditions for female firefighters.

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21 States Challenge New White Collar Overtime Rule

Twenty-one states are challenging new overtime rules that increase the minimum salary requirements for exempt “white collar” employees under the FLSA. The rules are set to increase the minimum salary that an employee who is exempt from receiving overtime must be paid from $455 per week to $913 per week.

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Houston Firefighters Accused of Using Facebook To Sell Shift Trades

Eyewitness News in Houston is investigating firefighters for selling shift-trades on a Facebook page aptly named HFD Extra Shifts. KTRK broke the story, interviewing firefighters and elected officials, and referencing a similar shift-swapping scandal in Cleveland in 2014 that resulted in criminal charges against 13 firefighters.

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FLSA Facts for Firefighters- Early Reliefs and Overtime

Today’s burning question: I regularly get to work 45 minutes before my normal shift and relieve a member. Does the FLSA require the department to compensate me for that extra time? Answer: The FLSA mandates that employees be paid for all hours worked. However, provided the early relief meets the requirements of 29 CFR §553.225, compensation is not required

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