Thirteen Hermosa Beach, firefighters have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The firefighters claim the city improperly calculated the regular rate of pay and failed to pay overtime for all hours worked each work period.
Properly calculating the regular rate is critical since FLSA overtime must be paid at 1.5 times the regular rate. This is not always an easy or straightforward calculation. The general rule requires “all remuneration” be included in the regular rate. This includes additional money for educational incentives, shift differentials, longevity payments, and even money paid to an employee in lieu of receiving health benefits. It is no surprise that the regular rate has been called the “linchpin of the FLSA.”
Firefighters allege the city does not include “cash back” payments made to firefighters “for unused portion[s] of their medical benefits” in the regular rate calculation. This would be a violation of the FLSA.
Additionally, the firefighters claim the city did not pay for all hours worked each work period. The FLSA requires employees be paid for all hours worked each work period. Each work period must stand on its own. Firefighters claim the city averages the number of hours worked each week, as opposed to calculating the exact number of hours worked in each work period and paying overtime when due.
The firefighters are seeking double damages for the past three years, all attorney fees, plus interest, and costs. Here is a copy of the complaint: Hermosa Beach FF FLSA Complaint
We discuss how to properly calculate the regular rate at all of our upcoming FLSA for Fire Department classes. Please consider joining us in 2018.
2018 Scheduled FLSA for Fire Departments classes: