Firefighters Sue District Over Alleged Overtime Miscalculations

Nearly four dozen current and former Southern Marin firefighters have filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming they were shorted of full overtime compensation.

The firefighters allege the Southern Marin Fire Protection District violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by understating the regular pay rate upon which overtime is calculated. They are seeking back pay, interest and attorneys’ fees.

The lawsuit involves the firefighters’ special work schedule, which is 48 straight hours of work, followed by four days off. The cycle occurs four times in a 24-day pay cycle, adding up to 192 hours on the clock every 24 days.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the lawsuit says, the employees must be compensated at time-and-a-half after 182 hours, or another 10 hours per pay cycle. When calculating the overtime rate, the fire district included wages in the regular pay rate but failed to figure in other premium compensation such as holiday pay, longevity pay and housing allowances, the firefighters allege.

The alleged miscalculations occurred in the payroll cycles prior to April 2, 2015, the suit says.

The lawsuit was filed on Feb. 16 in U.S. District Court in Oakland. Tom Perazzo, president of the fire district board, declined to comment on the lawsuit Thursday because the union has not served it on the district yet.

Gregg McLean Adam, an attorney for the firefighters, said, “We haven’t formally served the court yet in the hope that the mere filing would stimulate settlement talks.” He said he expected an offer Friday.

Adam said he does not have an estimate on the damages because the district has control of the employment and work records. He said the damages likely exceed $100,000.

A case management conference is scheduled for May 17 before Magistrate Judge Kandis Westmore.

The plaintiffs include Jeffrey Allen, Jon Alper, Yvette Blount, Matthew Bouchard, Bret Burger, Charles Casalnuovo, Michael Coleman, Brian Coman, Robert Delong, Peter Falk, Mark Fischer, Travis Fox, Joe Frazier, Daniel Gemma, Cary Gloeckner, Jason Golden, Peter Gundolff, Ian Hanson, George Earl Hart, David Lloyd, Michael Martinez, John McHugh, Bruno Missio, Adam Monte, James Moore, Thomas Moran, James O’Connor, Kenny O’Reilly, Kai Pasquale, Douglas Paterson, Benjamin Pope, Ben Powers, Tim Pratt, Dean Raffaini, Ronald Rosser, Jeff Smiley, Brett Stone, Cordi Sullivan, Ryan Tokuda, Brandon Treat, Tony Vitalie, Adam Vollmer, Laurence Yoell and Dennis Young.

From The Marin Independent Journal

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