Nevada firefighters File FLSA Suit

Two Storey County, Nevada firefighters have filed an FLSA suit against their employer, the Storey County Fire Protection District. The pair claim the district fails to pay them, and other similarly situated firefighters, overtime as required by the FLSA. Specifically, firefighters Victor Yohey and Chris Tillisch allege the district has a practice of not paying firefighters any FLSA overtime for both scheduled and unscheduled work time.

According to the complaint, Storey County firefighters and medics work a forty-eight (48) on, and ninety-six (96) off schedule. This schedule is very common in the fire service today. It results in firefighters working two continuous days on duty (i.e. the 48) following by four consecutive days off duty (i.e. the 96). Typically, this combination results in firefighters working an average of 56 hours per week.

Here, the plaintiffs allege the district pays firefighters a “static bi-weekly wage” and no FLSA overtime. Paying firefighters a static wage (a.k.a. a salary) is permissible under the FLSA and Department of Labor regulations. However, failing to pay overtime eligible firefighters time and one-half for all hours worked over the statutory maximum for the work period is a violation of the FLSA. The FLSA requires overtime for firefighters that work more than 53 hours in a 7-day work period, 106 in a 14-day work period, or 212 hours in a 28-day work period.

Additionally, the firefighters claim the district fails to pay overtime to firefighters that work additional unscheduled work shifts. According to the complaint firefighters receive their “straight hourly rate” for all unscheduled work shifts regardless of actual hours worked in the work period. The FLSA does not automatically require overtime pay for unscheduled work hours, however the FLSA requires overtime pay for all hours worked over the statutory maximum for the work period, whether scheduled or unscheduled.

The pair seek liquidated and compensatory damages regarding the back wages the plaintiffs (and other similarly situated firefighters) may be owed, interest, costs, and attorneys’ fees.

Here is a copy of the complaint.

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