VA Beach Settles “White Collar” FLSA Lawsuit with EMS Captains

The City of Virginia Beach, Virginia has agreed to a $200,000 settlement with 8 Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Captains following a November 2020 lawsuit for unpaid overtime. The captains alleged the city misclassified them as overtime exempt “white collar” employees in violation of the FLSA and Virginia state law.

The terms of the settlement require the city to pay a total of $200,000 to resolve all claims related to the 2020 lawsuit. A total of $120,000 is payable as back wages to the eight plaintiffs. Individual recoveries vary between $9,222 and $19,823 per plaintiff. Additionally, the city agrees to pay a total of $80,000 in attorneys’ fees to the captains’ attorneys. Additionally, and likely most important for the captains, the city agreed to classify EMS Captains as non-exempt overtime eligible employees moving forward.

Whether any firefighter, emergency medical technician, or other public safety personnel can be classified as an overtime exempt executive, administrative, or professional employee (often referred to collectively as “white collar” employees) requires a careful examination of the facts. As a general rule, an employee cannot be both a first responder and an overtime exempt “white collar” employee.

Here is more on the captains’ complaint from from last fall.

Here is a copy of the settlement agreement.

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