Lumpkin County Fire Department, located in Dahlonega, Georgia has agreed to settle a 2022 FLSA misclassification lawsuit filed by a former battalion chief. The lawsuit, which was filed on November 30, 2022, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, contained allegations the county improperly classified Battalion Chief Sharon Booth as an overtime exempt employee in violation of the FLSA.
The settlement requires the county pay Chief Booth $12,500 in back wages and damages and an additional $10,000 to Booth’s attorneys. According to the settlement documents, Booth’s attorneys had estimated she would be owed approximately $15,000 in back wages and damages if her claims were proven at trial. The county continues to assert that Booth was properly classified as an exempt employee, however in the interest of avoiding the expense and uncertainty of litigation, a settlement was advisable.
Whether any employee can be properly classified as overtime exempt under the FLSA’s white-collar overtime exemptions requires a careful examination of the way the employee is compensated and the employee’s primary job duties. The FLSA and Department of Labor (DOL) regulations contain numerous requirements that employer’s must be able to prove in order to utilize the white-collar overtime exemptions. Job titles and descriptions alone will not determine whether an employee meets these requirements. For more on the FLSA’s executive exemption and fire officers, click here.
Do you have questions related to FLSA overtime pay for fire and emergency service personnel? Please join us this Thursday, June 15, 2023 at 1PM EST, for Advanced FLSA: Fire Officers and Overtime. We take a deep-dive into the FLSA, DOL regulations and opinions, as well as recent legal decisions involving high-ranking fire and EMS officers and their entitlement to FLSA overtime.
Here is a copy of the Motion to Approve the Settlement between Lumpkin County and Battalion Chief Booth.