The City of La Verne, California has reached a settlement with a group of twenty-seven current and former city firefighters following allegations of unpaid overtime. The settlement follows a February 2018 FLSA lawsuit filed by the firefighters in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
The firefighters made two basic claims in the suit. First, the city failed to pay some firefighters for all the hours they worked. In support of their claims, the firefighters cited various committee, staff, and other administrative meetings they attended without receiving any compensation. Second, the city did not include all remuneration in the firefighters’ regular rate of pay for overtime purposes. Specifically, the firefighters claimed the city failed to include “Holiday-in-Lieu Pay”, “Driver Operator Certification Pay”, and “Company Officer Certification Pay” in their regular rate.
The FLSA requires all remuneration—with only a few exceptions—included in the regular rate of pay. Failure to include all remuneration in the regular rate will result in a lower overtime rate, that could violate the FLSA. Regular rate violations are the leading cause of FLSA lawsuits in the fire service.
The terms of the settlement—in which neither side admits “any fault, wrongdoing, or liability”—provides the 27 firefighters with a total of $208,902.27 to settle all claims of unpaid or underpaid overtime covering the span of the last 3 years. Additionally, the city has agreed to pay the firefighters’ attorneys’ fees of $75,000.
For more on the original complaint.
Here is more on the story from the Daily Bulletin and a copy of the settlement documents: