Seventeen Fire Captains from Marion County Fire and Rescue (MCFR), in Marion County, Florida have reached a settlement with the county following a 2019 lawsuit alleging they were misclassified as overtime exempt executives. The settlement, which still must be approved by the court, requires the county to pay a total of $725,000 to the captains and their attorneys. The settlement is broken down as follows:
- $316,950.10 in total back wages
- $316,950.10 in liquidated damages
- $91,099.80 in attorneys’ fees and costs
According to the settlement documents, the settlement represents 100 percent of the back-pay and liquidated damages the captains alleged they were entitled over a two-year period. As a general rule, the statute of limitations for FLSA lawsuits ranges between two and three years. Here, by agreeing to the settlement the county avoids any liability for the third year and the captains avoid the uncertainty associated with pursuing their claims through trial. Coincidentally, according to the settlement documents the county and the firefighters’ union agreed re-classify captains as non-exempt (overtime eligible) employees in December 2020.
Also, according to the settlement documents, the settlement includes back wages and damages to compensate the captains for undocumented/unpaid pre-and-post shift work and other off-the-clock work. Specifically, each plaintiff was “credited” as if he or she worked an additional 36 minutes per every 24-hour work shift for pre-and-post shift activities. Additionally, each captain was “credited” with an additional 107 minutes of work time for each 14-day work period for other “unpaid and unrecorded, unscheduled work.”
Here is a copy of the Joint Motion for Settlement Approval and more on the story from FirefighterOvertime.org.