New York firefighters prevail in FSLA dispute

A lawsuit filed by three former New York firefighters against a Fulton County city over a wage and hour dispute has been settled. According to local media reports, the City of Gloversville will pay the three men $110,000 to compensate them for unpaid overtime. On Nov. 10, Gloversville’s Common Council made the necessary funds available and adopted a resolution that approved and ratified the settlement.

Collective bargaining agreement

The three plaintiffs retired from the Gloversville Fire Department in 2018. Under the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement reached between union representatives and city officials, firefighters are entitled to time off when they work more than 53 hours during a workweek. When firefighters leave the department, they are entitled to payment for any time off they have accrued but not taken. All of the plaintiffs said that they were owed payment for accrued time off when they retired. One of them was paid for his accrued time off but at his regular hourly rate. The other two plaintiffs say that they received no compensation for their accrued time off. The lawsuit was brought under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires overtime to be paid at a time-and-a-half rate.

Mediation

The lawsuit was filed in 2019 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, but it was settled through mediation. Once the settlement had been reached, the judge presiding over the case issued an order to dismiss. City officials decided to settle the litigation even though they deny the allegations made by the firefighters. The attorney representing the firefighters says that the city likely decided to settle because litigating cases involving FLSA violations can be extremely expensive.

Settling hour and wage claims

Disputes such as this one are often settled before they reach court due to the costs involved. If you have not been paid correctly for regular time or overtime you have worked, an attorney with experience in wage and hour litigation could take legal action on your behalf and remind your employer of these costs during settlement discussions. An attorney may also point out to your employer that these cases often hinge on documents like time cards and paystubs that could be difficult to refute.

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