Philadelphia Paramedics Sue City For Overtime Pay

More than 150 Philadelphia Fire Department paramedics have filed a lawsuit against the city claiming that officials owe them overtime pay for the past three years, said an attorney representing the group.

Bob Jones of Chamberlain, Kaufman and Jones in Albany, New York, said the paramedics periodically worked 48 hour weeks, for which they should have been paid time and a half for each hour after 40 worked per week, according to the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Jones said the paramedics can only make a claim for overtime earned during the past three years because of the statute of limitations.

He said that typically, firefighters are exempt from this overtime standard but paramedics typically are not.

"What happens, when firefighters and paramedics are together the scheduling gets a little bit confusing for the employer, and either willfully or not, they violate the FLSA," Jones said.

Jones said in Philadelphia, paramedics sometimes work 48 hour weeks and sometimes they work less.

He said some employers average the hours out and say that an employee works an average of 40 hours per week, but according to the FLSA each week stands alone.

Jones said the amount each paramedic in the suit could claim depends on the individual's pay rate and schedule.

He said this case is similar to several recent cases in other cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles.