The Destin Fire Control District has settled an FLSA lawsuit with a total of nine firefighters for almost $40,000. The firefighters had alleged that the district required them to attend specific training sessions while off-duty and did not compensate them for that time. The district countered by claiming the firefighters attendance at the trainings was purely voluntary and provided by the district as a convenience to the firefighters. The district also claimed that the training was “required for certification” for licensure that was a “precondition of employment.”
Job-related training is almost always compensable worktime. However, as most regular readers of FirefighterOvertime.org and past attendees of the FLSA for Fire Departments seminars/webinars are likely aware there are exceptions to this general rule. In fact, there are six specific exceptions that allow an employer to avoid paying employees for the time spent engaged in job-related training. One of these exceptions applies to training that is required by law for certification. The most common example of this type of training is EMS certification/recertification.
In the end, the Destin Fire Control District and the firefighters reached a settlement to avoid the costs and uncertainty of further litigation. The nine firefighters will receive a total of $39,240.62 and their attorneys will receive $30,759.38 in fees and costs.
Do you have questions about the compensability of training time? If yes, please consider joining us at our next FLSA for Fire Departments live webinar. This is the second time that we have offered the program with the “EZ “2 + 2” Schedule.” This schedule allows attendees to view and participate in the live webinar on four separate days over a two-week period. Prior to the new schedule, the class was delivered six hours per day for four consecutive days. However, feedback from past attendees showed that it was challenging for folks to devote four straight days to attend any training, especially training offered in a webinar format. As a result, we decided to offer the class two days per week for two straight weeks. This new schedule accomplishes two things. First. it allows attendees the opportunity to attend with less distractions or conflicts, which in-turn helps improve the learning experience. Second, attendees now have a greater opportunity to review the material in between classes and even view a recording of any portions of the class that may have been missed prior to attending the next session. Click here, for more information.
Here is a copy of the settlement agreement.