Firefighters Sue for Overtime Pay

The firefighters often worked 48 to 70 hours per work week, but were only given time-and-a-half overtime pay if they worked more than 212 hours in a 28 day cycle.

Labor laws require overtime pay for any hours worked over 40, with some exemptions.

Dennis Szweda, Janelle Schmeck, David Ciabattoni, Reed Apostol and Donald Hirsch sued the Exeter Township Volunteer Fire Department, alleging they have not been properly compensated for their work.

They say that after repeated complaints to administration regarding the lack of overtime pay, the department willfully refused to pay them, necessitating the suit.

“Szweda repeatedly met with representatives of [Exeter] to complain that he and others did not receive all overtime pay due them under the FSLA and requested an itemization of overtime hours worked and overtime hours paid,” the complaint states. It continues, “However, [Exeter] willfully refused to pay any of [the firefighters] their unpaid overtime wages or even itemize hours worked and overtime hours paid. [Exeter] also willfully refused to prospectively change its compensation practices.”

Municipal entities are often exempted from paying overtime under U.S. code. Exeter is, according to the complaint, a non-governmental entity and therefore not exempted.

The firefighters are represented by attorney James E. Goodley of the firm Jennings Sigmond, who filed the suit in Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Judge Joseph F. Leeson Jr. is presiding.

The department did not return an email requesting comment.