Settlement Announced in California FLSA Overtime Suit

The Southern Marin Fire Protection District has settled an overtime compensation lawsuit filed earlier this year by forty-four firefighters. The firefighters sued in February claiming the district incorrectly calculated their regular rate, which is the rate that is to be used to determine the overtime rate.

A common mistake made by employers is to calculate overtime by taking an employees base rate and multiplying by 1 ½. The FLSA requires employers to include all remuneration when determining regular rate, including a variety of wage augments such as longevity pay, medic pay, educational incentives, etc.

In the Southern Marin Fire Protection District case, the firefighters alleged the district failed to include “pay premiums such as holiday pay, out-of-class pay, longevity pay, and housing allowances” in the regular rate.

The parties have reportedly settled the case for $155,000. Each firefighter will receive between $131.13 to $8,124.16. The settlement also provides for attorneys fees.

Nearly 50% of all FLSA cases being filed against fire departments over the past 5 years allege a regular rate violation. We will be discussing this issue and more next week in Hanover Park, Illinois in the FLSA for Fire Departments class. If your schedule is flexible, there are some wait list seats available that will likely open up over the next few days.

More on the story.

About 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.

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