Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
Emergency medical employees in Oklahoma receive more than $172,000 in overtime back wages following US Labor Department investigation
POTEAU, Okla. -- EMS LeFlore County has paid $172,351 in overtime back wages to 44 current and former emergency medical employees at five Oklahoma locations following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division that found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime provisions. Work sites are in Spiro, Pocola, Talihina, Heavener and Poteau, where the company’s home office is based.
“Employees were paid ‘straight time’ for all hours worked instead of receiving overtime compensation,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “The Labor Department will use every tool available to ensure that workers are paid properly.”
An investigation by the division’s Oklahoma City District Office found that EMS LeFlore County wrongly had classified emergency medical technicians and paramedics as fire protection workers and paid them straight time wages rather than the required time and one-half for hours worked over 40 in a week. The FLSA includes a partial exemption from overtime requirements for some fire and police department employees of public employers. The employees in question did not qualify for that exemption.
EMS LeFlore County has agreed to comply with the FLSA in the future.
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours beyond 40 per week. Employers are required to maintain accurate time and payroll records. For additional information about law enforcement and fire protection employees under the FLSA, visit http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs8.pdf.
The Labor Department has a smartphone application, available in English and Spanish, to help employees independently track the hours they work and determine the wages they are owed. Users conveniently can track regular work hours, break times and any overtime hours for one or more employers. This new technology is significant because, instead of relying on their employers’ records, workers now can keep their own records. This and other department apps are available at http://www.dol.gov/dol/apps.
For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its Oklahoma City office at 405-231-4158. Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.