American Journal of Law & Medicine

Contracts: overtime on-call compensation for emergency medical technicians - Dinges v. Sacred Heart St. Mary's Hospital, Inc.

Contracts: Overtime On-Call Compensation for Emergency Medical Technicians--Dinges v. Sacred Heart St. Mary's Hospital, Inc.(1)--The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that a hospital is not required to compensate emergency medical technicians (EMTs) at their regular wages for on-call time because time spent on-call is not considered work under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).(2) The court reasoned that a case-by-case analysis should be used to distinguish between on-call time that should be considered working time and nonworking time for the purpose of employee compensation. The court found that the plaintiffs had sufficient opportunity to attend to ordinary private activities. The court also concluded that although the FLSA can override private contracts, both the plain language of the FLSA and agency regulations permit "labor and management to structure their relations so that each side gains."(3)

Plaintiffs Garrett Dinges and Christine Foster entered into a contract with defendant Sacred Heart St. Mary's Hospitals, Inc. (St. Mary's) to serve as EMTs on the defendant's after hours on-call crew. …

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