Employment Attorneys for Georgia First Responders Handle a Range of Claims

Experienced Atlanta lawyers pursue fair compensation and overtime for emergency workers

Georgia’s first responders put their lives on the line for the public every day. The “First Responder” regulation (29 C.F.R. §541.3) requires overtime pay for a broad range of those who protect us—police officers and sheriff deputies; firefighters; paramedics and EMTs; probation and corrections officers, park rangers, etc. At DeLong, Caldwell, Bridgers, Fitzpatrick, & Benjamin, LLC, our Atlanta attorneys believe that respect should and must extend to treatment in the workplace. As employment lawyers, we work tirelessly to ensure that our first responder clients receive the overtime pay they are due. When a conflict arises, we are ready to advocate for their rights and fight for a just resolution.

"DCBFB is the one you want to choose. Professional, great demeanor, able to view your issue objectively, strategically plans to win. They are honest and people of integrity. I recommend this firm at the highest level. They will win your case." -A.D.

Determined advocates advise first responders on employment pay issues

Regardless of your rank or pay level, if your position requires you to perform work such as preventing, controlling or extinguishing fires of any type; rescuing fire, crime or accident victims; preventing or detecting crimes; conducting investigations or inspections for violations of law; performing surveillance; pursuing, restraining and apprehending suspects; detaining or supervising suspected and convicted criminals, including those on probation or parole; interviewing witnesses; interrogating and fingerprinting suspects; preparing investigative reports; or other similar work you should be paid an overtime premium. 

We have decades of experience representing first responders and public safety unions. We have successfully obtained overtime pay for many employees including: fire lieutenants and battalion chiefs working in many agencies; privately employed paramedics; officers in a municipal jail; arson investigators; and a class of investigators and SWAT officers employed by the Atlanta Police Department. We are also experienced in enforcing the “comp time” rules for accruing pay. We can assist you across the United States either directly or as consultant.

Representing public safety employees across Georgia for decades

DeLong, Caldwell, Bridgers, Fitzpatrick, & Benjamin, LLC devotes our entire practice to employment law and labor matters. We proudly represent the firefighters, police officers and other first responders throughout Georgia, including:

  • Atlanta Police Department (Arson Investigators)
  • City of Atlanta Corrections Department 
  • City of Morrow Police Department 
  • City of South Fulton Firefighters’ Union 
  • Clayton County Sheriff’s Department 
  • Cobb County Fire Department 
  • Coweta County Firefighters’ Union 
  • Dekalb County Fire Department 
  • East Point Fire Department (Lieutenants & Battalion Chiefs) 
  • Fulton County Sheriff’s Department 
  • Gwinnett County Fire Department 
  • Haralson County Sheriff’s Department 
  • Houston County Sheriff’s Department
  • Jasper County Fire and Rescue 
  • Lifeline EMS (Private First Responders) 
  • Newton County Fire Department (Battalion Chiefs) 
  • Rockdale County Fire Department (Battalion Chiefs) 
  • Rockdale County Firefighters’ Union 
  • Union City Fire Department

Special FLSA overtime rules for First Responders

Passed in 1938 and frequently amended, the Fair Labor Standards Act is the landmark federal law that established a minimum wage, a forty-hour work week, and rules for overtime. However, the application of FLSA to first responders is often complicated, given the nature of work schedules and tasks. The FLSA provides that public employees engaged in fire protection or law enforcement may be paid overtime on a “work period” basis. A “work period” may be from 7 consecutive days to 28 consecutive days in length. For work periods of at least 7 but less than 28 days, overtime pay is required when the number of hours worked exceeds the number of hours that bears the same relationship to 212 (fire) or 171 (police) as the number of days in the work period bears to 28. For example, fire protection personnel are due overtime under such a plan after 106 hours worked during a 14-day work period, while law enforcement personnel must receive overtime after 86 hours worked during a 14-day work period. (29 C.F.R. § 553.201(a); 553.230) EMTs and paramedics who are cross-trained as firefighters and work for a public fire department, may also be paid on in the same manner as firefighters. Importantly, non-cross-trained EMTs and paramedics must be paid overtime based on a 40 hour work week. 

Your position with a firefighting or law enforcement agency may also be subject to other special rules, including the following:

  • Overtime exemption to public agencies that employ fewer than five workers who are involved in law enforcement or fire protection activities during a workweek.
  • Overtime may be based on a work period, which can be from seven to 28 consecutive days in length instead of the traditional 7 day work week.
  • For fire personnel, the overtime hours are calculated as 10.6 hours x the number of workdays in the work period.
  • For law enforcement personnel, the overtime hours are calculated as 8.55 hours x the number of workdays in the work period.
  • A state or local government agency may substitute cash with compensatory time of one and one-half hours for each overtime hour you worked, up to 480 hours of accrued compensatory time that you can use on the dates you request unless it would unduly disrupt your employer’s operations.

Fire protection personnel include firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), rescue workers, ambulance personnel and hazardous materials workers. Regardless of the number of nonexempt tasks you perform, you are considered fire protection personnel if you meet the DOL definition. 

These rules can be complex, but our FLSA attorneys are ready to fight for your right to the overtime pay you have earned already and may earn in the future.

Contact our Georgia law firm for first responder employment assistance

DeLong, Caldwell, Bridgers, Fitzpatrick, & Benjamin, LLC provides legal services for first responders in the Atlanta area. Call us at 470-443-0524 or contact us online to arrange a consultation. Our Atlanta office is ADA accessible.