Appeals Court Determines Police Sergeants And First-Responders Entitled To Overtime Pay in Edward Mullins et al v. City of New York

In a precedent setting wage and hour case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2d District determined that New York City police department sergeants were entitled to overtime pay. In Edward Mullins et al v. City of New York the court evaluated whether the sergeants had been misclassified as “exempt” by the department in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Placing employees in the proper employment category is incredibly significant, and is the source of many employer pay violations. An experienced FLSA attorney may be able to review your classification and advise you regarding whether you are entitled to overtime pay. The FLSA provides that all employees who are not exempt must be paid overtime at a rate of one and one-half their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 in any workweek. Workers who are exempt are not entitled to overtime, regardless of the number of hours worked. Exemptions apply to people who make a certain amount of money per week and perform certain types of work.

Here, the police sergeants were denied overtime pay pursuant to the “executive exemption,” which generally provides that if your duties are primarily management related, you are not entitled to overtime.

Subsequently, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a revised interpretation of an FLSA exemption statute providing that employees with first-responder responsibilities – such as police officers and firefighters – were entitled to overtime pay.

As a result, the 2d Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the police sergeants were misclassified as exempt stating, “[W]hile directing operations at crime, fire or accident scenes’ appears, at first blush, to be a type of management that sergeants undertake, when their supervisory activities are viewed within the context of the first responder regulation as interpreted by the Secretary, it becomes apparent that, because these activities form part of sergeants’ primary field law enforcement duties, such supervision is not to be deemed ‘management.”

Based on this ruling, the police sergeants may be entitled to back pay dating back to April 2001.

If you believe you have been denied overtime compensation because your employer misclassified you as exempt, or for any other reason, you may have a claim under the FLSA. For more information, contact the dedicated Atlanta wage and hour lawyers Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP. Our Georgia overtime pay attorneys have years of experience helping workers ensure they obtain the pay they deserve.