Private Firefighters Sue for Unpaid Overtime
Last month, private firefighters working for Lockheed Martin Corporation's plant in Marietta, Georgia filed a lawsuit against their employer in the U.S. District Court for Northern District of Georgia. The firefighters are accusing Lockheed of not paying them their overtime wages and thus violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Generally, the FLSA exempts firefighters from receiving overtime. However, the complaint states that this exemption only applies to public agencies. Lockheed is a private, for-profit company; therefore, the firefighters claim that the company is legally obligated to pay its employees time-and-a-half wages for hours worked over 40 per week.
The firefighters work a “24-48" schedule, meaning they work one 24-hour shift and are then off for 48 hours. This schedule operates on a three-week rotation. The firefighters work two 48-hour weeks and one 72-hour week, but never receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 per week. According to a recent Bloomberg Law article,“Lockheed applies the same overtime policies and practices to other firefighters it employs across the country.”
Lockheed’s Response to the Lawsuit
Lockheed spokesperson Rob Fuller states that the company's “policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation.” Lockheed “is confident this case is without merit” and will “vigorously defend that position.” The case stands as a proposed class action lawsuit.
Federal and State Laws on Wage and Hour Violations
There are both federal and state laws that protect employees from overtime wage violations in the workplace. According to the Department of Labor, covered nonexempt employees are entitled to a standard minimum wage and an overtime pay "at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay required after 40 hours of work in a work week.”
Additionally, New York Labor Laws further uphold FLSA regulations and suggest that employers should “understand the role of employment in dictating minimum wage, protecting workers, and providing benefits.” The state of New Jersey also acknowledges and upholds this law, stating that employees are to be paid overtime wages for “each hour of working time in excess of 40 hours in any week.” Both state and federal regulations regarding overtime pay are in place to prohibit employers from refusing to pay their employees their earned wages.
Seek Legal Assistance Today
If you have unpaid overtime wages, seek legal assistance from the Law Office of Christopher Q. Davis, located in New York City and Livingston, NJ. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.