A series of employee lawsuits against health care providers is attracting the attention of other workers who believe they are also being treated unfairly. A nurse at a Texas medical center is just one of thousands who feel their employee rights are not respected. Some say that it is becoming common business practice to cut costs at the expense of the worker.
In recent years, some health care providers have been requiring employees to clock out for lunch but remain on call. Workers, while on their break, are not permitted to leave the building and are expected to respond to an emergency. Alternatively, some employers do not provide for a scheduled lunch break, forcing employees to work straight through, yet they deduct 30 minutes from their employees' daily time.
The nurse who filed suit says that over 4,000 employees at the hospital are often denied meal breaks and are expected to tend to their patients. Nurses in other hospitals have similarly complained of being required to meet with doctors and perform other duties while off the clock for their breaks. In some cases, the deduction of time for the lunch disqualifies an employee from overtime pay.
This practice is not limited to nurses. As each complaint becomes public, more Texas workers in different fields realize they may not be getting the full pay they deserve. Some who file lawsuits are winning substantial amounts of back wages which is prompting others to take a closer look at their paychecks. If they feel their employee rights are being denied, they may contact an attorney to pursue legal action.
Source: Houston Chronicle, "Nurses sue over working lunches", L.M. Sixel, June 28, 2016