Three ranking officers of the Pittsburgh Fire Bureau have filed suit under the Fair Labor Standards Act claiming that PFB officers have been wrongfully denied overtime compensation.
Deputy Chief Harry Scherer, Battalion Chief Robert Cox and Captain Edmund J. Farley filed suit yesterday seeking overtime compensation they and other officers are owed under the 2004 revisions to the FLSA.
The 2004 revisions clarified the “executive exemption” making most firefighters for whom fighting fires and responding to emergencies is a primary responsibility eligible for overtime compensation after 212 hours in a 28 day period (or an average of 53 hours per week). Historically, many fire departments have considered all officers to be executives, and therefore exempt from overtime requirements. That exemption now applies only to ranking officers who’s primary responsibility is not responding to emergencies.
The lawsuit seeks back pay from July 2009, as the FLSA only allows workers to go back 3 years. The city had settled a similar lawsuit last year filed by the Police officers by paying more than $900,000 in penalties and attorneys’ fees.