FDNY Settles Another FLSA Lawsuit with EMS Workers

One chapter in the City of New York’s seemingly never-ending  wage and hour litigation with city EMS workers might be coming to a close very soon. The city and a group of more than 500 FDNY Emergency Medical Services supervisors have agreed to settle a 2016 lawsuit for unpaid work hours. This was one of two separate lawsuits filed in a three-year span by a total of more than 3,000 FDNY EMS personnel. This lawsuit involved a class of more than 500 EMS officers with a rank of Lieutenant or Captain. The other lawsuit, which involved more than 2,500 EMTs and paramedics ended with a jury verdict in favor of the EMTs and an eventual judgement of almost $18 million that included back wages, damages, attorneys’ fees, and interest in late 2023.

In both lawsuits, the main allegations were that the EMTs, paramedics, and their supervisors worked without compensation before and after their scheduled work shifts. The FLSA requires that all employees are paid for all the time they are “suffered or permitted” to work. This includes the time spent working before and after scheduled work shifts. This can present unique challenges for professionals responsible for managing police, fire, EMS, and other public safety professionals hours worked.

This latest settlement provides $1,760,000 in back wages and damages to the EMS supervisors. Surprisingly, the settlement does not include an allocation of attorneys’ fees for the EMS supervisors’ attorneys. However, according to the court order approving the settlement, those fees will be negotiated separately; and the parties have agreed that the total  amount of attorneys’ fees will not exceed 33.3% [approx. $600k] of the already agreed upon back wages and damages.

Here is a copy of the settlement and more on the initial lawsuit from Curt Varone’s Fire Law Blog.

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