Monday, December 12, 2011

Private-Sector Firefighters File Class Action Against Wackenhut Over Alleged Employer Abuses

Several private-sector firefighters filed a class action lawsuit Tuesday against private security company Wackenhut, alleging several serious wage and hour violations and other employer abuses.  The lawsuit alleges firefighters working on Department of Defense contracts in Afghanistan and Iraq were required to work 24 hours a day, but only paid for 12 hours, required to have walkie talkies to their ear during sleep, and were frequently called out on a fire or other emergency only to be sent back to bed in the middle of the night and denied pay for their time.

The lawsuit alleges firefighters who complained were told “You have two choices, aisle or window,” or, “chicken or beef,” meaning they would be fired and flown back to the United States.  The eleven-count complaint seeks damages for unjust enrichment, breach of contract, fraud and deceptive trade practices.  Wackenhut has faced several lawsuits in the past about its employment practices.  In 2008, Mastagni Law attorneys David P. Mastagni and David E. Mastagni won a seven-figure award for Wackenhut employees over wage and hour violations.