Pennsylvania County Lacks Basic Understanding of the FMLA, Terminates 911 Director For Taking Leave to Care for Her Elderly Parents

By: Loyd Willaford and Sarah Burke

In Raimondi v. Wyoming County, a former 911 Center director was terminated after she took FMLA leave to care for her mother and father. The County argued that the director was not entitled to FMLA because she had not specifically asked for it and her parents had not had a medical emergency. A United States District Court in Pennsylvania found the County liable under the FMLA and ruled in favor of the director.

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Federal Judge Finds That New York City Does Not Have to Pay Officers FLSA Wages When They Benefit More Than City From Mandatory Drug And Alcohol Classes

By Jim Cline and Geoff Kiernan

A federal judge in Gibbs v. City of New York ruled that mandatory drug and alcohol classes and AA meetings that NYPD required for officers that they felt had a substance abuse problem did not count as compensable “work” under FLSA, even though the officers’ jobs were contingent on them attending these classes. The judge found that since the mandatory drug and alcohol counseling sessions primarily benefited the employee rather than the NYPD it would be improper to require the employer to compensate them.

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Pennsylvania District Court Finds FLSA Does Not Cover Corrections Officers Claim For Unpaid Wages For Mandatory Pre-Roll Call Report Time

By: Jim Cline and Sarah Burke 

In Whenry v. Board of Commissioners, a Federal District rejected a FLSA claim filed by 66 corrections officers for unpaid wages over mandatory on the job time prior to roll call. The Court held that the Teamster contract that indicated the time was unpaid did not violate the FLSA. The court noted the officers were covered by a 207(k) exemption which created three weekly hours of “gap time” between their 40 regular schedule hours and their 43 weekly 207k hours.

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Sixth Circuit Holds that Firefighters Not Entitled to Pay for Specialized Training Required By Law for Certification

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Brennen Johnson

NoFreeWorkIn Misewicz v. City of Memphis, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by over one hundred firefighters against the City of Memphis, Tennessee. The firefighters sued the City in an attempt to obtain overtime wages for time outside of their regular work hours that they spent participating in paramedic training. The Court determined that the City was not obligated to compensate the firefighters for that time because the City successfully complied with a provision of the Department of Labor regulations that provides circumstances where public employers need not compensate their employees for time spent in training.

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Oregon Court Holds that City Must Include Vacation and Sick Leave Time When Calculating Overtime Wages for Firefighters

By Jordan L. Jones

out-sickIn Fire Fighters Local 3564 v. City of Grants Pass, the Oregon court of appeals held that the city had to include vacation and sick leave time when calculating overtime wages for firefighters to comply with Oregon Revised Statutes (O.R.S.) 652.080.

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Federal District Court Holds that Fire Chiefs’ Furlough Does Not Qualify Them for Overtime under the FLSA

By Anthony Rice

BalanceIn Bozzo v. City of Gilroy, a California Federal District Court ruled that a reduction in pay in exchange for “furlough time,” does not entitle City of Gilroy Fire Chiefs’ to overtime under the FLSA. The court rejected the Chief’s argument that the City’s furlough plan violated the “salary basis” test of the FLSA causing the positions to lose their exempt status.

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“Safety Rule” Exceptions to the FLSA Overtime Exemption Leaves Over Fifty Montgomery Firefighters High and Dry

By Anthony Rice

ExemptIn Watkins v. City of Montgomery, fifty-four Fire Suppression Lieutenants failed to convince a federal district court that they were not exempt from the overtime requirements under the FLSA under the City of Montgomery’s claimed “executive” exemption.

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“Suggested” Five Minute Pre-Shift Briefing Might be Compensable, but is Definitely not De Minimis, New Mexico Federal Court Finds

By Kate Acheson

In Brubach v. City of Albuquerque, a group of city security guards claimed the City violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by failing to compensate them for pre-shift briefings.  The City of Albuquerque moved to dismiss the guards’ complaint, claiming the time was voluntary.  The federal court denied the City’s request, noting that enough dispute of fact existed to require a jury to decide the matter.  The City also claimed the time was de minimis – so small it is legally insignificant.  The court rejected this argument as a matter of law. [Read more…]