Florida Hospital Will Pay More Than $107,000 to Settle Unpaid Overtime Claim
On February 5th, 2020, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) announced that a North Florida hospital has agreed to pay more than $107,000 in financial compensation to resolve an unpaid overtime claim.
The legal action was brought on behalf of several dozen employees who were improperly denied overtime pay in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Here, our West Palm Beach employment law attorneys provide an overview of this wage and hour case.
Allegations: Hospital Improperly Deducted Time for Meal Breaks that Were Never Taken
The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor brought the unpaid overtime claim against Flagler Hospital Inc.—a medical facility based in St. Augustine, Florida. Flagler Hospital has more than 330 beds and it employs hundreds of health care workers. The DOL initiated an investigation into the practices at the facility after allegations that it improperly failed to accurately record the hours of overtime-eligible employees.
More specifically, Flagler Hospital used a system that automatically deducted time for an employee’s daily “meal breaks.” However, in the emergency department, employees were often forced to work through these meal breaks, not actually taking any time off during their shift. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers must accurately record time worked. While employers can certainly require workers to clock out for their 30-minute meal break, they must actually get that meal break. If they do not, then they should be paid for it.
After its inquiry into the North Florida hospital, the DOL determined that several employees should have been paid overtime, as working through a meal break pushed them above 40 hours per week. In all, 141 workers were affected. Flagler Hospital has agreed to pay these employees more than $107,000 in back wages.
Non-Profit Organizations are Still Covered By the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
Similar to many other hospitals, Flagler Hospital is a non-profit organization. The DOL is very clear in stressing that the Fair Labor Standards Act still applies to non-profit employers. These organizations do not receive any special exclusions under federal law. They must still pay overtime when appropriate.
If an employee is non-exempt, then an employer must accurately record their hours worked and pay overtime wages (time and a half) for any hours worked beyond 40 in a week. Non-profit organizations should ensure that they have effective policies in place and that they are paying their staff the full wages they have earned under state and federal law.
Call Our South Florida Unpaid Overtime Lawyers Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida wage and hour attorneys have extensive experience handling complex unpaid overtime claims. If you have questions about your rights or your options, call us now for a no fee, confidential consultation. With a law office in West Palm Beach and a second location in Miami, we handle FLSA claims throughout the wider region, including in Broward County, Miami-Dade County, and Palm Beach County.