2016 FLSA Roundup

Throughout 2016, the Fair Labor Standards Act continued to loom as one of the most important laws for fire departments. Last year saw a large number of high profile FLSA suits filed against fire departments as well as a large number settled. We also saw new overtime rules enacted by the US Department of Labor, challenged by 21 states, and then blocked by a federal court in Texas.

Our FLSA team can’t wait to see what 2017 will bring us!!!

Here are the 2016 FLSA for Fire Departments headlines, in rank order of importance from my perspective:


1. Fairfax County Settles FLSA Suit With Fire Captains for $7.85 Million

– Captains are hourly employees, not exempt executives.


2. Federal Court Blocks Enforcement of New FLSA Overtime Rules

– A suit by 21 states successfully halted the implementation of new overtime rules that would have establish a new minimum salary requirement of $913 per week for exempt employees.


3. FDNY EMS Officers File FLSA Class Action

– A suit by EMS lieutenants and captains seeks compensation for the time spent exchanging information at shift change.


4. California Firefighters File FLSA Suit Over Regular Rate Calculation

– Twenty-two San Luis Obispo firefighters have filed suit against the city alleging that they are being shortchanged on the rate they are paid for overtime.


5. Settlement of Charleston Overtime Suit Approved for $815k

– Charleston, SC settles a three-year old suit with firefighters over the city’s use of thing called the fluctuating workweek method.


6. San Bernardino Settles Nine-Year Dispute With Firefighters

– The City of San Bernardino, CA reached a global settlement with its firefighters resolving 15 different legal proceedings ranging from an FLSA lawsuit to several unfair labor practice charges with a potential price tag that could have been $40 million.


7. 44 California Firefighters File FLSA Suit

– 44 firefighters from Southern Marin Fire Protection District filed an FLSA suit alleging the district improperly calculated regular rate overtime compensation violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act.


8. Overtime for Paramedic Training

– While the general rule under the FLSA is that an employer must compensate employees for time spent in employer mandated training, there are exceptions and required training for paramedic licensure may lie squarely within one of these exceptions depending upon the specific facts and circumstances.


9. 21 States Challenge New White Collar Overtime Rule

– A suit by 21 states challenges new overtime rules that establish a new minimum salary requirement of $913 per week for exempt employees.


10. FLSA Subbing Followup

– The FLSA has a special provision that allows fire departments to ignore firefighter substitutions, but it does not address the complicated issues associated sick leave use by a firefighter who agrees to substitute.


Runners Up

FLSA Facts for Firefighters- Early Reliefs and Overtime
FLSA Facts for Firefighters: Clothing Allowance
FLSA, Overtime and Staff Personnel
Comp Time For Civilian Fire Department Employees
Compensation for EMS Training
Settlement Announced in California FLSA Overtime Suit
FLSA Burning Question: Can a Firefighter Also Be Employed as a Bus Driver?

Burning Question – Does the FLSA Prohibit Paying Hourly Employees a Salary?
Overtime Burning Question: 14 or 28 Day Work Period

Part-Time Firefighter Overtime

Former Tennessee Firefighter Sues Under FLSA
FLSA and Per Diem Employees

Please join us at one of our upcoming FLSA for Fire Departments conferences scheduled for 2017.

Georgetown, Texas – Jan. 31-Feb 2, 2017
Miami, Florida – May 9-11, 2017

Hanover Park, Illinois – October 10-12, 2017

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 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, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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