Bluewater Toxicology, LLC and its owner face a proposed class and collective action that claims workers at the company’s COVID-19 testing sites were not paid overtime wages or provided with proper meal and rest breaks.
Per the case, Bluewater, which does business as Bluewater Diagnostic Laboratory, overstepped the Fair Labor Standards Act and Kentucky Wages and Hours Act with its alleged failure to provide proper wages and compliant breaks.
Bluewater is a provider of diagnostic laboratory services and began offering COVID-19 testing throughout Kentucky in March or April 2020, the 20-page lawsuit begins. The suit’s three plaintiffs, two in-office phlebotomists and a lead processor, were moved or hired to work at Bluewater’s testing sites given the increasing demand for such services, according to the complaint.
While working at the sites, the plaintiffs performed menial tasks such as data entry; “swabbing,” or using a swab to collect material from patients to be tested; and “manifesting,” or gathering the patients’ driver’s licenses, insurance cards and other personal information, the suit says. None of the plaintiffs were assigned managerial or supervisory duties and the workers had no authority to hire, fire or discipline other employees, the lawsuit stresses.
According to the case, the plaintiffs and other workers at Bluewater’s COVID-19 testing sites put in “significant amounts” of overtime, often working in excess of 16 hours per day and 60 to 70 hours per week. The suit alleges, however, that Bluewater never paid employees proper time-and-a-half overtime wages for every hour worked beyond 40 each week as required by state and federal law.
Moreover, the workers sometimes received what was known as “incentive pay” for working on a Saturday or Sunday, the case goes on. This incentive pay, however, amounted to 6.5 hours’ worth of wages at the employees’ regular hourly rates regardless of how many hours they had already worked that week or the number of hours for which the pay was provided, the suit says.
The case rounds out with the claim that employees were rarely provided with meal and rest breaks as required under state law. Per the suit, because the testing sites were “extremely busy” and understaffed, most or all Bluewater workers were prevented from taking proper breaks.
The lawsuit looks to represent all current and former non-exempt employees who worked for the defendants any time since March 18, 2019.
ClassAction.org’s coverage of COVID-19 litigation can be found here and over on our Newswire.