California Battalion Chief Sues Claiming Entitlement to Overtime

A battalion chief with the City of Coronado has filed suit claiming he and similarly situated battalion chiefs have been wrongly classified as exempt from overtime. Perry Peake filed the class action suit this week in US District Court for the Southern District of California.

The suit alleges that battalion chiefs in Coronado:

  • regularly respond to, and participate in, calls for service that include preventing, controlling, or extinguishing fires, (fire suppression).
  • regularly respond to, and participate in, calls for rescuing fire and accident victims.
  • regularly respond to calls for responding to, and participating in, medical calls for service, (as fully certified Paramedics and/or EMT’s).
  • regularly carry and use fire suppression and medical equipment kept and maintained in their Department vehicles.

As a result, they are first responders, not exempt executives, and thus should be entitled to overtime. One of Peake’s attorneys, Will Aitchison, is one of the giants in our industry. Will was the guy who taught me the FLSA back 35 years ago and it is great to see him still litigating these cases. Here is a copy of the complaint:

By the way, we have our FLSA for Fire Departments conference coming up May 11-14, 2021. There’s been a number of changes at the US Department of Labor with the change of administrations that impacts firefighters. Overtime, regular rate, health care buy-backs, comp time, volunteer compensation, officer exemptions, and much much more. For details on the conference click here.

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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