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Misewicz v. City of Memphis

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

November 14, 2014

JON MISEWICZ et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
CITY OF MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE, Defendant-Appellee

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee at Memphis. No. 2:10-cv-02593--S. Thomas Anderson, District Judge.

ON BRIEF:

Thomas A. Woodley, Douglas L. Steele, Sara L. Faulman, WOODLEY & MCGILLIVARY, Washington, D.C., for Appellants.

Robert D. Meyers, GLANKLER BROWN, PLLC, Memphis, Tennessee, for Appellee.

Before: MOORE and COOK, Circuit Judges, and STEEH, District Judge.[*]

OPINION

Page 333

KAREN NELSON MOORE, Circuit Judge.

In this case alleging violations of § 207 of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 207, plaintiffs-appellants (hereinafter " Plaintiffs" ), fire fighters employed by the Memphis Fire Department, appeal the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendant-appellee the City of Memphis, Tennessee on their complaint asserting overtime pay for paramedic training time. For the reasons set forth below, we AFFIRM the district court's grant of summary judgment to the City of Memphis.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Statutory and Regulatory Framework

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (" FLSA" ), employers must pay their employees at least a specified minimum wage for each hour worked and overtime

Page 334

for hours worked in excess of forty in a workweek. 29 U.S.C. § § 206, 207(a)(1). " Time spent attending employer-sponsored lectures, meetings, and training programs is generally considered compensable." Chao v. Tradesmen Int'l, Inc., 310 F.3d 904, 907 (6th Cir. 2002). However, the Department of Labor (" DOL" ) regulations implementing the FLSA provide two exceptions to this general rule. First, 29 C.F.R. § 785.27 provides that " [a]ttendance at lectures, meetings, training programs and similar activities need not be counted as working time," and therefore does not need to be compensated, if four criteria are met:

(a) Attendance is outside of the employee's regular working hours;
(b) Attendance is in fact voluntary;
(c) The course, lecture, or meeting is not directly related to the employee's job; and
(d) The employee does not perform any productive work during such attendance.

Id. The other exception in the DOL regulations, 29 C.F.R. § 553.226 " Training time," applies only to employees of state and local governments and provides in relevant part as follows:

(a) The general rules for determining the compensability of training time under the FLSA are set forth in § § 785.27 through 785.32 of this title.
(b) While time spent in attending training required by an employer is normally considered compensable hours of work, following are situations where time spent by employees of State and local governments in required training is considered to be noncompensable:
(1) Attendance outside of regular working hours at specialized or follow-up training, which is required by law for certification of public and private sector employees within a particular governmental jurisdiction (e.g., certification of public and private emergency rescue workers), does not constitute compensable hours of work for public employees within that jurisdiction and subordinate jurisdictions.
(2) Attendance outside of regular working hours at specialized or follow-up training, which is required for certification of employees of a governmental jurisdiction by law of a higher level of government (e.g., where a State or county law imposes a training obligation on city employees), does not constitute compensable hours of work.

Id.

B. Facts and Procedure

The vast majority of facts are undisputed for the purposes of summary judgment. " The Memphis Fire Department ('MFD') provides fire protection services and pre-hospital care for the City of Memphis ('City')," including " paramedic ambulance services." R. 67-6 (Def.'s Resp. to Pls.' Stat. Facts ¶ 1) (Page ID #900). Around 2001, the City began requiring all newly hired fire fighters to become certified as level four emergency medical technicians (" EMT-IV" ), which " fall[s] somewhere between an EMT-B [a basic EMT] and a paramedic." Id. ¶ 3 (Page ID #901). In October 2007, the City began a new policy requiring all fire fighters hired after October 29, 2007, to become certified as paramedics (called EMT-P). Id. ΒΆ 4, 19 (Page ID #901, 907). ...


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