FLSA Headlines from East and West, Big and Small

Two FLSA-related cases are in the Fire Law news, one involving a small volunteer fire department in North Carolina, the other involving one of the nation’s largest fire departments: the Los Angeles City Fire Department. My colleague Bill Maccarone covered the LAFD case in his blog, so I would direct my readers to FirefighterOvertime.org, for more on that case. It was filed late last week and raises some interesting shift-overlap concerns.

In North Carolina, the Long Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. is facing an FLSA suit by a former firefighter who claims he routinely worked than 40 hours per week, but was not paid overtime. Jerry Swift filed suit today in US District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.

According to the complaint:

  • Swift began his employment with Defendant as a part-time Firefighter Engineer on or about March 1, 2019.
  • Swift began working for Defendant as a full-time Firefighter Engineer on or about April 2, 2020. Swift voluntarily severed his employment with Defendant on or about November 30, 2022.
  • At the time, Swift’s title was Fire Captain.
  • At all relevant times, Swift was a nonexempt employee within the meaning of the FLSA and eligible for overtime compensation for all work performed over 40 hours in a workweek.
  • Defendant violated the FLSA by failing to pay Plaintiff an overtime premium rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
  • Defendant’s violation of the FLSA was willful.

Swift is seeking damages, liquidated damages, and attorneys’ fees. Here is a copy of the complaint:

Here is the LA City complaint:

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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