The San Diego City Council unanimously approved a $3.4 million settlement with more than 700 city firefighters this week. The settlement resolves a 2019 lawsuit, that was initially filed by only three city firefighters, alleging the city’s pay practices violated the FLSA. Over the course of the next several months hundreds of more firefighters opted into the suit. In the end, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, more than 700 firefighters are included in the settlement.
The plaintiff firefighters’ initial complaint contained two basic allegations. First, the firefighters alleged the city failed to include all remuneration in their regular rate of pay. Specifically, money paid directly to firefighters for declining employer sponsored medical benefits was not included in their regular rate of pay. The FLSA requires virtually all of the money an employee receives for employment included in their regular rate of pay. As a general rule, failure to include all remuneration in an employee’s regular rate results in shorting that employee’s regular and overtime pay rate.
The firefighters also claimed the city failed to pay firefighters for all hours worked every work period. In particular, the city utilized an averaging tool that it called “Cycle Time.” According to the firefighters’ complaint cycle time averaged the hours worked by firefighters over several different work periods. The FLSA requires employers pay overtime eligible employees for all hours worked in each work period. Very often employers mistakenly believe that hours worked can be averaged or smoothed from one work period to another.
The exact break-down and terms of the settlement are not yet available, however click here, for more on the story from the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Also, here is more on the story from FirefighterOvertime.org, including a more detailed description of “Cycle Time.”