On August 25, 2023, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a judgment of $17.78 million which was rendered in favor of EMTs and Paramedics who worked for the City of New York. The case arose based on the EMTs’ and Paramedics’ allegations that they worked overtime hours, but were not compensated for that work. Today’s Long Island employment law blog takes a closer look at the facts of the case – Perry v. City of New York, the reasons the City appealed the jury’s verdict, and the reasons the Court upheld the judgment.
2,519 EMTs and Paramedics who worked for the City of New York joined a collective action alleging that the City failed to pay them overtime. In brief, the emergency workers alleged that they were required to perform work for the City for which they were not paid. The City required that the EMTs and Paramedics be ready to start work “ready for duty.” To be ready for duty, the workers must have already checked personal protective equipment such as their helmet, gloves, pants, coat, and respirator. Thus, they alleged they were not paid for the work done to check their personal protective equipment.
The jury determined that the City was liable for overtime pay, and that the City willfully violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal law which requires certain workers to receive overtime pay. The jury awarded total damages of $17.78 million, comprised of actual damages, liquidated damages, and attorneys’ fees.