United States District Court Judge Michael A. Ponsor recently found that Holyoke firefighters working well over 40 hours a week for the city could not collect overtime pay. In his 34 page decision captioned Lemieux, et. al. v. City of Holyoke, et.al. (Docket No. 08-CV- 30038 MAP), Judge Ponsor, sitting in Springfield, rejected the Firefighter’s argument that municipalities may be held liable for damages under the Commonwealth’s Minimum Fair Wage Act MGL 151 s. 1A . In their suit, the Firefighters sought overtime pay at a rate of one and a half times their regular compensation for work they provided over 40 hours per week. There was no dispute that the firefighters frequently worked in excess of 40 hours per week., and the law contains no language expressly exempting municipal employees from the state wage statute. Nevertheless, the Court found that the City was subject only to Federal law – and not state law – in this circumstance. The City was held immune from the state wage law and exempt from paying overtime under the applicable federal statute – the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) , which does not require overtime until after 61 hours of shift work. The Court held that under the FLSA exemption, the Firefighters could not prove, as a matter of law, that they had a viable wage claim and this cause of action was dismissed. We will update you on any further determinations if the matter is appealed. The full decision may be found here.