Closeup shot of a firetruck

Atlanta First Responders Overtime Lawyer

First responders, such as firefighters, police officers, and paramedics, play a critical role in ensuring public safety. Those holding the rank of Sergeant, Captain, and Battalion Chief are frequently denied overtime pay. This is because their public employer classifies them as exempt “executives” or “administrative” personnel.

Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Labor has enacted the “First Responder Regulation, 29 C.F.R. §541.3(b)(1) This important regulation makes clear that if an employee is performing First Responder duties, they are not exempt as executives or administrative employees:


(1) The section 13(a)(1) exemptions and the regulations in this part also do not apply to police officers, detectives, deputy sheriffs, state troopers, highway patrol officers, investigators, inspectors, correctional officers, parole or probation officers, park rangers, firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, ambulance personnel, rescue workers, hazardous materials workers, and similar employees, regardless of rank or pay level, who 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.

(2) Such employees do not qualify as exempt executive employees because their primary duty is not management of the enterprise in which the employee is employed or a customarily recognized department or subdivision thereof as required under § 541.100. Thus, for example, a police officer or fire fighter whose primary duty is to investigate crimes or fight fires is not exempt under section 13(a)(1) of the Act merely because the police officer or fire fighter also directs the work of other employees in the conduct of an investigation or fighting a fire.

(3) Such employees do not qualify as exempt administrative employees because their primary duty is not the performance of work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers as required under § 541.200.

First responders who are entitled to overtime pay are frequently denied it.  As a result, many first responders find themselves dealing with wage and hour violations. This can cause financial hardship and negatively impact their ability to provide for themselves and their families. It is crucial for first responders to understand their rights. First responders should seek legal representation if they believe their employers have violated labor laws.

Experienced employment lawyers pursue fair compensation and overtime for emergency workers. DeLong, Caldwell, Bridgers, Fitzpatrick & Benjamin, LLC, is dedicated to advocating for the rights of first responders who risk their lives every day to protect the public. As experienced employment lawyers with a focus on labor matters, we work tirelessly to ensure that our first responder clients receive the overtime pay they are entitled to under the First Responder regulation (29 C.F.R. §541.3(b)) and other relevant laws.

Overtime Pay For First Responders

Our team of determined advocates has decades of experience representing first responders and public safety unions. We have successfully obtained overtime pay for many employees, including fire lieutenants, arson investigators and battalion chiefs, privately employed paramedics, corrections officers in a municipal jail, and a class of investigators and SWAT officers employed by the Atlanta Police Department. We can assist you across the United States, either directly or as a consultant.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

FLSA  establishes overtime pay and other employment standards that apply to first responders. First responders such as police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians are often required to work long hours and irregular schedules. Under the FLSA, first responders must be paid overtime for any overtime hours worked (usually on a 14 or 28 day work schedule), and they must be paid at least the federal minimum wage. Failure to comply with FLSA requirements can result in legal action and penalties, including back pay, liquidated damages, and attorney fees. It is essential for first responders to understand their rights under the FLSA and to seek legal counsel if they believe their employer has violated the law.

Local First Responders

As a Georgia law firm, we have proudly represented firefighters, police officers, and other first responders throughout the state. This includes employees with the following entitles:

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, and

Union City Fire Department.

Expert Assistance

Our team is well-versed in the special FLSA overtime rules for first responders. Special FLSA regulations can be complicated due to the nature of work schedules and duties. Under these rules, fire protection employees or law enforcement may be paid overtime on a “work period” basis. This is  different from the traditional 7-day calendar week.

 Overtime for First Responders

A “work period” may be from 7 consecutive days to 28 consecutive days in length and 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 28. EMTs and paramedics who are cross-trained as firefighters and work for a public fire department may also be paid in the same manner as firefighters, but non-cross-trained EMTs and paramedics must be paid overtime based on a 40-hour work week.

Contact Our Office

If you are a first responder and have been denied overtime pay or have a question about your eligibility, our experienced attorneys can help you. We offer a free consultation to assess your case and determine the best course of action. Contact us today at (678) 252-5189 to schedule your free consultation. Take the first step toward the just resolution you deserve!