Putnam County, Tennessee has reached a $280,000 settlement agreement with a group of current and former EMTs following a 2019 lawsuit over alleged FLSA violations. The suit, which was initially filed by a lone paramedic last July, contained three basic allegations. First, the county failed to pay for off-the-clock pre-and-post shift work, second, the county improperly implemented the “fluctuating workweek method” of overtime compensation and as a result failed to calculate the medics and other EMTs’ regular rate of pay correctly; and finally, that the county failed to cash out accumulated comp time at the regular rate of pay as required by the FLSA. For more on the initial complaint, click here.
The settlement, in which the county denies any liability, calls for a total of $148,000 in back pay and damages to be dispersed between 23 different plaintiffs. The plaintiffs’ attorneys will receive a total of $132,000 in fees and costs associated with the litigation.
This settlement serves as a harsh reminder for public agency employers—of all sizes—to carefully monitor time spent by employees working before and after scheduled work shifts. For example, if an employer requires a non-overtime exempt employee to arrive at the workplace and perform certain activities in preparation of his or her work shift, that time must be compensated. Similarly, if the employer requires a non-overtime exempt employee to perform certain activities at the conclusion of his or her work shift, that time must also be compensated.
Here are copies of the Motion for Settlement and the Court approved Final Order.