Gadsden firefighters filing lawsuit over paycheck shortages

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 4:18 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 12, 2022 at 5:04 PM CDT
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GADSDEN, Ala. (WBRC) - In May 2022, firefighters with the City of Gadsden filed a lawsuit against the city with claims of overtime pay violations. More than 90 firefighters say since filing the lawsuit, they’ve faced retaliation from the city.

These first responders are being represented by McGillivary, Steele, Elkin and attorney David Ricksecker says this is something they’ve dealt with for years.

“Someone would come in and work overtime and they would use a lower hourly pay rate than their regularly hourly pay rate when they were working overtime,” says Ricksecker. “So, someone would be getting paid time and a half at a lower rate than they were typically paid.”

Under the U.S. Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act, state employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked more than 40 hours in a workweek of at least one and one-half times their regular rates of pay. The firefighter WBRC spoke to says that is not the case.

“My hourly rate drops to a firefighter, top firefighter rate of say $11.50 or $11.75. Well then that’s done at time and a half. A commander would work for straight hourly pay. These firefighter drivers and commander are knocked down and then paid time and a half.”

The attorney representing these firefighters says they are still collecting information from the city to see how long this has been going on and how much these firefighters are owed.

Gadsden’s attorney Lee Roberts shared this statement with WBRC:

“Typically matters like this are brought to my attention so that we can amicably resolve any problems without having to spend taxpayer dollars on legal costs and attorney’s fees. I was unaware of the issues addressed in the complaint, but I hope that we can come to terms in short order.”

Lee Roberts
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