The Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department has reached a settlement with more than sixty- firefighters following allegations the county failed to include supplemental pay granted to firefighters for either EMT or Paramedic certification in the firefighter’s regular rate of pay.
The FLSA requires virtually all remuneration — like compensation paid to firefighters for EMT or paramedic certification — included in a firefighter’s regular rate of pay. All FLSA overtime must be at least time and one-half of the firefighter’s regular rate of pay. Failure to include all remuneration in the regular rate will result in firefighters being shorted on overtime pay. Regular rate violations are the most common FLSA violation in the fire service today.
A total of sixty-six firefighters are named in the settlement, which calls for a total of $28,759.79 paid to the firefighters. Approximately $10,000 is allocated for back wages, an additional $18,000 plus is allocated for compensatory and liquidated damages. The court has yet to finalize the details regarding the plaintiff firefighters’ attorneys’ fees. As is typical in these suits, the employer is responsible for paying the employee’s attorneys’ fees.
The Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department is no stranger to FLSA litigation with its firefighters. A group of seventy-seven firefighters filed a virtually identical lawsuit against the county in 2014. Those firefighters also claimed the county failed to include EMT incentive pay in their regular rate of pay for FLSA overtime purposes. The county eventually settled that suit for over $90,000 in 2017.
Here is more on the story from Firefighterovertime.org dating back to last September.
Here are copies of the Joint Motion for Approval of Settlement and the Order from the court approving the Settlement.