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Naples Firefighters Suing for Unpaid Overtime

Naples Firefighters Suing for Unpaid OvertimeFor over three years, firefighters from the Greater Naples Fire Rescue District were denied overtime pay according to a recent lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed on September 12th, states that six battalion chiefs worked an estimated fifty-three hour work week during that three-year time period but were only paid a regular hourly rate for the overtime work. The reason they were not paid overtime was because of their managerial titles. Their claims amount to approximately $360,000 combined overtime pay.

Sadly, this is one of many overtime pay disputes in Florida between hourly workers, managerial employees, and their employers. The Fair Labor Standards Act governs hourly wages and overtime pay for all non-exempt employees. According to the FLSA, non-exempt employees that work over a 40-hour work week must be paid at an overtime rate of at least one and a half times the amount of their regular rate.

Misclassifying Employees to Avoid Paying Overtime

Unfortunately, unscrupulous Florida employers often misclassify employees in order to avoid paying overtime. They may give you a salary and require you to work more than 40 hours in a work week, despite your primary duties being non-exempt in nature. It is important to note that a job title alone does not dictate if you are an exempt or non-exempt employee.

Under the FLSA, an exempt employee is typically a professional employee or white collar employee who performs administrative or managerial tasks. These employees receive an appropriate salary that is equal to the responsibility they have as exempt employees. Blue collar workers are non-exempt and must be paid by at least the minimum hourly wage, and overtime hourly wage as well.

In the case of the Naples firefighters, the Battalion chiefs said that they typically responded to fires and emergencies like other hourly wage firefighters. While they did also perform managerial tasks this was not the bulk of their duties.

How Do the Florida Courts Determine Wage Exemptions?

When an employee files a complaint against their employer, the court may need to determine if the worker should be classified as an exempt or non-exempt employee. To do this, the court will need to consider a variety of factors, including:

  • Does the employee have discretion and independent judgment to act on behalf of employer
  • Does the employee have managerial functions
  • Does the employee oversee other employees
  • Does the employee have hiring and firing duties

It is important to know that there are numerous other factors that may come into play when courts are determining the proper classification for an employee. As such, it is important to contact an experienced Florida employment lawyer if you believe that you have been unfairly denied overtime pay. Understanding Florida employment law is difficult but employees have a right to be paid fairly for their work.

Contact Our Miami Employment Lawyers Today

As an hourly employee in Florida, you have the right to be paid for overtime work. Florida law specifically protects workers from unfair wage practices and wage theft. If you believe that you have been a victim of wage theft and your employer owes you overtime pay, it is critical that you call an experienced Miami employment lawyer immediately to learn more about your legal rights. Call the Law Office of Keith M. Stern, P.A. today at 888-315-8771.

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