The healthcare industry is known for its long hours and poor working conditions. Shifts lasting up to twelve hours are common and many healthcare workers don’t even think twice about agreeing to such harsh terms. But healthcare workers are protected by the same labor laws as all other employees working in the United States. This includes proper overtime compensation for all time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week.
Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) all employees working in the United States are entitled to no less than $7.25 per hour. Tipped employees can be paid less, but healthcare workers do not earn tips. In addition to the FLSA, each state has its own laws to regulate employment and minimum wage. California is just one of the states that requires employers to pay a higher minimum wage than the FLSA.
The FLSA also mandates that employees be paid the proper overtime compensation of one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all overtime worked. The Act defines overtime as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week.
Not only does California have a higher minimum wage, it also requires employers to provide all hourly workers with regular meal and rest breaks. Under California Labor Law, workers are entitled to a paid rest break lasting at least ten minutes after every four hours of work. For every five hours worked, employees are entitled to an unpaid meal break of at least half an hour. For every day an employee misses one of these breaks (for any reason) she is entitled to one hour’s worth of wages, in addition to all wages earned that day.
According to a recent class action wage and hour lawsuit, Integrated Healthcare Holdings Inc. allegedly failed to properly compensate its workers for overtime and missed meal and rest breaks. The complaint alleges Integrated Healthcare “essentially created and perpetuated an artificially lower rate of pay”, which was considered their “normal hourly rate”. That low rate was then allegedly used to calculate employees’ overtime when they worked shifts longer than eight hours.
The alleged goal of these measures was to equalize pay among employees who worked 12-hour shifts and employees who worked shorter shifts, despite the significant difference in the amount of time spent working.
Integrated Healthcare continues to deny having done anything wrong, but they have agreed to settle the class action wage and hour lawsuit in order to avoid further litigation. The parties have agreed to a settlement of $14.5 million, which will be distributed among all employees who worked 12-hour shifts and were eligible to be paid the California Differential any time between June 5, 2005 and April 4, 2014.
Class members will receive a Claim Form, which they can fill out and return to claim their share of the settlement. The amount each class member receives will vary depending on the total amount of wages they earned and whether they worked under a Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The Chicago and Oakbrook class action attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims against hospitals, senior and assisted living centers and large doctor and dental practices and chains for erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, and otherwise failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. If you are the victim this practice call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online by filling in the form at the side of this blog.
The Chicago unpaid overtime lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have decades of experience fighting for wage earner’s rights. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime attorneys who focus on nationwide class action lawsuits and work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and prosecute claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Waukegan and North Chicago. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, McHenry Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Palatine and Naperville overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers misclassify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.
The Chicago Overtime Law Center is based in Chicago and represents clients throughout the country who have not been paid for the overtime hours that they worked. If you believe that you are owed overtime wages, contact one of our Chicago class action attorneys by phone at (312) 869-4095 or through our online form.