Back-Pay Settlement: What We Can Learn From the Dallas First Responders Lawsuit

After decades, almost 8,700 former and current Dallas firefighters and police officers see the end of their class-action lawsuit regarding back-pay claims. The executive committee representing the first responders have agreed on a $173.3 million settlement.
The settlement is a significant checkpoint, one that will not include a tax increase and would abolish a large threat for the local government. Although they have reached an agreement, there are still stepping stones left to lay.
Using this case as an example, there are various lessons to be learned about lawsuits involving back-pay and overtime pay.

The Pursuit of Class Action Lawsuits

Refusing to pay overtime or back-pay by employers normally occurs for many employees at once, instead of a single employee. Class action lawsuits allow the group of employees to pursue these claims in one action of the court.
The Dallas first responders originally filed their class-action lawsuit in the early 1990s pertaining to a decision made in 1979 by voters. A referendum approved in 1979 gave police and firefighters a raise. However, the language referred to a pay differential for various ranks. First responders believed the differential was to remain indefinitely, with city attorneys stating it was to remain for only a year.
This miscommunication resulted in a decade-long lawsuit, much time and high compensation.

Avoiding Class Action Lawsuits as an Employee

As an employee, you must take on some of the responsibility for ensuring you and your co-workers are being treated fairly. One thing to learn from the Dallas first responders is that giving up when you are treated unfairly doesn’t have to be an option.
How can you avoid a wage and hour disputes between you and your employer?

  • Make sure your employment is correctly classified between an independent contractor and a traditional employee.
  • Track and record your paid time data and always review your paystubs and tax information.
  • Ensure you are receiving timely payment.
  • Ensure your employer places emphasis on staying up to date on all federal and state regulations.
  • Always ask questions regarding time and wages when you don’t understand.
  • Seek out professional counsel from an attorney if you suspect illegal activity.

Have You Been Denied Back-Pay or Overtime Pay?

If you or a loved one has been denied back-pay or overtime pay, we are here to help. At Ted B. Lyon & Associates, we are always committed to a favorable outcome. Reach out to us today for a free initial consultation at 877-Ted-Lyon / 877-833-5966 or connect with us online.