Florida Chief Claims He’s Entitled to Overtime Pay

A Florida fire chief who resigned last December as part of a mass resignation, has filed suit against the fire district under the Fair Labor Standard Act claiming he was improperly designated as an exempt executive. Chief Jason Martin claims the Upper Captiva Fire Protection & Rescue Services District owes him overtime for all the hours he worked beyond 53 hours per week.

Chief Martin was among 40 of the district’s 46 firefighters who resigned after taxpayers rejected a special tax assessment. The chief was under pressure about overspending. Here is more about the mass resignation.

The lawsuit claims that Chief Martin’s primary duty was responding to alarms, not managing the department.  Quoting from the complaint:

  • Despite his job title, Plaintiff primarily performed the job duties of a firefighter and paramedic and was contractually required to maintain his certifications in those positions.
  • As such, at all times material hereto, Plaintiff was an FLSA non-exempt employee of Defendant.
  • Defendant was required under the FLSA to pay Plaintiff one and one half (1 1⁄2) times his effective hourly rate for each hour worked over 53 hours in a workweek or 212 hours in 28 days.
  • Plaintiff routinely worked in excess of 53 hours in a workweek and/or 212 hours in 28 days.
  • In fact, it is reasonably estimated that Plaintiff regularly worked in excess of 80 hours in most workweeks.
  • Nevertheless, from the commencement of his employment through October 1, 2022, Defendant failed to pay Plaintiff for his accrued overtime hours at one and one half (1 1⁄2) times his regular hourly pay rate.

Here is a copy of the 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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