Hospital Settles Overtime Lawsuit For $4.75 Million
Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks will pay $4.75 million to 1,116 current and former employees to settle a lawsuit in which the employees alleged the hospital did not properly compensate them for overtime and skipped breaks, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The lawsuit was originally filed in October 2003 by four respiratory therapists who regularly worked 12-hour shifts and said they were not fairly compensated. It was later expanded to include all hourly employees when other hospital workers said they were forced to skip state-required meal and rest breaks because the hospital was understaffed.
Plaintiffs' attorney Della Bahan said the settlement was influenced by Los Robles' "factored rate" of basing employees' time-and-a-half overtime pay on a lower hourly wage than workers were paid for regular hours. Bahan said that the situation at the hospital has "improved dramatically" since the lawsuit was filed and that the hospital stopped using the factored payment method in July 2004.
Workers who were employed by the hospital between October 1999 and July 2004 and responded to the settlement offer will receive payments ranging from $100 to more than $25,000 in the settlement. According to Bahan, although 98% of workers eligible for the settlement were contacted, 42% responded and will share in the payout (Griggs, Los Angeles Times, 5/11).