Overtime Pay Violations against Nurses and Hospital Personnel
In all U.S. states, employees benefit from many different laws aimed at promoting their legal rights and protection, such as the Anti-discrimination law and the Fair Labor Standards Act, which stipulates the required number of hours of work per day/week, the national minimum wage and computation of overtime pay.
Though there may be workers who are not covered by these laws, all employees are generally assured of minimum wage plus additional or overtime pay for any extra number of hours of work that they render beyond the 40-hour work per week that is mandated by the law.
The federal law, which specifically gives directives and sets the standard for recordkeeping, child labor regulations, minimum wage and overtime pay, is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), also known as the Wages and Hours Bill, which the US Congress created in 1938 and which is presently controlled by WHD or Wage and Hour Division.
The FLSA is intended to benefit all employees, whether part-time or full-time, in both private and public businesses. This Fair Labor Standards Act has components leading to civil or criminal offenses in the event of violation of any of its stipulations. Besides the criminal penalty and the huge fine for violation of any of the Act’s stipulations, compensation for damages suffered by an employee, which includes lawyer’s fees, will also have to be paid by erring employers.
Despite the law and the harsh penalties, many employers find ways to continue carrying out unfair labor practices, denying their employees the minimum and/or overtime pay that they deserve. Every minute worked deserves to be compensated, thus, any employer violation can lead to an offense which will merit for the employee all unpaid compensation.
One sector where workers continue to suffer wage and hour violations is the medical (sector); this sector is made up of nurses and other hospital personnel.
Due to the type of work that nurses and hospital personnel perform, they often get required to render additional hours of service right after their regular shift. Though hospital work naturally requires extended duty and OT work, pay agreements are legally and clearly reached by both employees and their employers. Legal agreements, however, often remain on paper, leaving many medical workers unable to receive the compensation and overtime pay that they rightfully deserve.
In its website, the Leichter Law Firm clearly states that employees who work more than 40 hours in a week should receive overtime pay at a rate of one and one-half times their regular rate. Some employers, however, classify nurses as “Independent Contractors” and so label them as contractors or 1099 employees if they are working through medical staffing companies. Due to this, they are given the same hourly rate for all hours worked, even those over 40 in a workweek. Nurses who are subjected to this kind of treatment should work together to bring this employment violation into the open.