- New York City and its fire department must pay $14.5 million to emergency medical technicians, paramedics and people working related positions in the New York City Fire Department who were not provided overtime pay as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The class of plaintiffs — numbering more than 2,500 — will receive $7.2 million back pay and an equal amount in liquidated damages (Perry, et al. v. City of New York and the Fire Department of the City of New York, No. 13-cv-01015 (S.D. N.Y. Feb. 5, 2020)).
- The plaintiffs alleged in their in their complaint they had not been paid overtime since early 2011.
- A jury ruled in their favor and, because it determined the violations were willful, the court was compelled to award double damages, it said.
The FLSA requires that covered workers be paid time and one-half their regular rate for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Notably, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a new "regular rate" rule in December, clarifying when employers can exclude certain benefits from overtime calculations.
Collective action suits dealing with overtime claims lend themselves to hefty payments for companies. Last year, for example, McDonald's agreed to pay $26 million to settle wage and hour claims filed by California cooks and cashiers. Similarly, a nurse staffing firm agreed to pay $3.2 million to settle suit alleging it failed to pay overtime as required by California law when it improperly calculated the regular rate of pay.