Eight nurses sue Twin Cities Hospital
March 31, 2015
Eight nurses who work at Twin Cities Community Hospital are suing their employer claiming the hospital has denied them meal and rest breaks and has shorted their pay.
All eight of the nurses are women who have worked at the Templeton hospital for more than 18 years. Pasadena law firm Traber & Voorhees and San Luis Obispo firm Baltodano & Baltodano filed suit on behalf of the nurses in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.
“The purpose of this lawsuit is to change the culture of the hospital so that nurses receive proper breaks and patients receive proper care,” the suit states. “This lawsuit is also about wage theft by a hospital that is more interested in lining its coffers than paying its nurses a fair day’s wage for a hard day’s work.”
The suit alleges that Twin Cities policy prohibits nurses from taking rest breaks unless they find someone to tend to their patients. But, the hospital routinely understaffs in order to increase profits, and there often are not enough nurses on duty to cover for each other, according to the lawsuit.
Additionally, nurses usually do not receive rest breaks until eight or nine hours into their shifts. They also must sign meal wavers, and they do not receive food breaks until late in their shifts, if at all, the suit alleges.
The lawsuit claims that Twin Cities created an alternative work schedule that exempts the hospital from paying an overtime premium for the 9th through 12th hours of nurses’ shifts. But, Twin Cities violates the agreement by forcing nurses to leave early when there are fewer patients in the hospital.
Likewise, the hospital improperly calculates overtime pay by excluding bonuses and other forms of compensation from the formula, the suit alleges.
The eight nurses are suing for underpaid wages plus interest, civil penalties, attorney’s fees, legal costs and any other relief deemed proper.