A group of four in-house firefighters that work for Lockheed Martin Corp.’s aircraft plant in Marietta, Georgia recently filed a lawsuit against the corporation alleging the company fails to pay overtime as required by federal law. The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on April 6, contains allegations that the defense contractor fails to pay firefighters overtime after working 40 hours in a 7-day workweek.
According to the firefighters’ complaint, the plaintiff firefighters work a three-week rotating work schedule consisting of 24 hours on duty, followed by 48 hours off duty. This [common firefighter] schedule results in firefighters working either 48 or 72 hours every 7-day workweek. The firefighters further allege that Lockheed Martin only pays overtime for hours worked by firefighters in excess of 48 every seven-day workweek. As a general rule, the FLSA requires non-public agency employers pay overtime eligible employees [including private firefighters] overtime after working 40 hours in a 7-day workweek.
As many FirefighterOvertime.org readers are likely aware, the FLSA contains special rules related to paying firefighters. In particular, the FLSA’s §207(k) partial overtime exemption for employees engaged in fire protection activities, allow public agency fire departments avoid the FLSA’s default overtime requirements. In order to utilize the FLSA’s §207(k) partial exemption, the employer [i.e. fire department] must be a public agency. Private fire departments cannot utilize the §207(k) partial exemption, or many of the other “firefighter-only” provisions of the FLSA and Department of Labor (DOL) regulations. For a more in-depth discussion of the FLSA’s §207(k) partial overtime exemption click here.
Here is more from the firefighters’ complaint:
- Lockheed Martin does not pay Plaintiffs’ overtime for hours 40-48 worked each week.
- On weeks when Plaintiffs work two shifts totaling forty-eight hours, Plaintiffs do not receive a one and one-half time overtime premium for the hours worked in excess of forty.
- On weeks when Plaintiffs work three shifts, Lockheed Martin pays Plaintiffs an overtime premium for hours worked in excess of forty-eight, but still does not pay Plaintiffs a one and one-half time overtime premium for hours forty to forty-eight.
- Lockheed Martin pays the Plaintiffs on an hourly basis. Plaintiffs do not receive a fixed salary. Instead, by virtue of being hourly, Plaintiffs weekly payment varies with the number of hours worked in the workweek.
- Given the hourly relationship, Plaintiffs and Lockheed Martin do not have a clear and mutual understanding that a fixed salary covers all hours worked in a week.
- No agreement between Lockheed Martin and Plaintiffs exists excluding sleep time from Plaintiffs’ hours worked.
- Plaintiffs often work through meal times and no agreement exists excluding meal time from hours worked.
- During on-call time, Plaintiffs remain under Lockheed Martin’s control and are unable to leave the Marietta campus. The one exception to when Lockheed permits Plaintiffs to leave the Marietta campus during their shift is for an annual physical exam. Lockheed Martin requires that Plaintiffs attend this physical examination.
- There is no agreement between Plaintiffs and Lockheed Martin allowing Plaintiffs to receive comp time for overtime, nor has Lockheed Martin provided Plaintiffs with comp time for overtime hours worked.
Here is a copy of the firefighters’ complaint.