FIREFIGHTERS OVERTIME PAY: KENTUCKY LABOR CABINET V. HASKEN PLAINTIFFS (COA 8/3/2007)

KENTUCKY LABOR CABINET V. HASKEN PLAINTIFFS
EMPLOYMENT:  LOUISVILLE FIREFIGHTERS OVERTIME PAY
2005-CA-001949
PUBLISHED: AFFIRMING
PANEL: ACREE, PRESIDING; LAMBERT AND KNOPF CONCUR
COUNTY: JEFFERSON
DATE RENDERED: 8/3/2007

Appeal by both sides stemming from a claim filed with the Dept of Labor by Louisville firefighters union over the City’s methods used to calculate overtime pay – specifically, that certain elements of pay were wrongfully excluded from the "total remuneration" used to calculate overtime pay. The Dept concluded that all amounts received by the firefighters other than the clothing allowance was indeed remuneration that should have been included in the calculation, and also concluded that KRS 413.120 precluded claims for overtime pay older than 5 years. The firefighters appealed to the KY Attorney General’s Office whose hearing officer adopted the Dept’s findings except for the formula used to calculate the overtime pay. Back to the Dept of Labor, its Secretary reinstated its officer’s initial determination in full. Both sides appealed to the Jefferson CC, which found the Secretary’s regulation interpretation to be arbitrary and capricious and remanded the matter to the Dept for reinstatement of its first hearing officer’s determination in full.

The COA affirmed the TC’s ruling in full, finding its interpretation of the regulation governing the formula to use in calculating the overtime pay to be correct, which ultimately benefited the firefighters. The COA also upheld the TC’s conclusion that the clothing allowance was not remuneration and that the City’s allegedly deceptive acts in concealing the formula and categories of pay it had used to calculate the overtime pay did not toll the 5 years statute of limitations for back overtime pay.

By Chad Kessinger

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