A proposed class and collective action claims St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center and Catholic Health Services of Long Island have failed to pay employees for every hour worked.
The 23-page case more specifically claims the 536-bed Smithtown, New York hospital improperly configured its time clocks to round workers’ recorded hours down in the defendants’ favor and pay them only for their scheduled hours rather than the actual number of hours worked. Moreover, employees are not paid for time spent working during meal breaks, according to the suit.
“These illegal practices and policies are uniform throughout Defendants’ facilities and have been known to Defendants for years,” the complaint scathes.
The plaintiff says he worked for St. Catherine Medical Center and parent company Catholic Health Services as a respiratory therapist from June 2016 to March 2021. According to the case, the plaintiff typically worked from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. two to four days per week and was paid most recently at an hourly rate of $37.69. The lawsuit says the plaintiff was not permitted to exercise independent discretion in the performance of his job duties, hire and fire other employees, or choose particular job assignments.
The case alleges the plaintiff often performed essential work after clocking in and before the start of his scheduled shift and after the end of his shift and before clocking out. Despite putting in a total of 15 to 30 minutes of work outside of his scheduled shift time, the plaintiff was paid for only the time for which he was scheduled as a result of the defendants’ practice of rounding his clock-in and clock-out times to when his shift was scheduled to start and end, the suit attests.
“On these days, [the plaintiff] worked but was not compensated for at least 15-30 minutes because of Defendants’ improper schedule-based time rounding procedures,” the complaint says, alleging the same rounding practice was applied to all hourly employees.
The lawsuit claims the work performed by the plaintiff prior to and after the end of his scheduled shift was “significant, integral and indispensable” to the performance of his job-related duties and done primarily for the defendants’ benefit. The case notes that while “rounding” practices are allowed under state and federal wage and hour laws, the arrangement must “average out” so that over time the workers are fully compensated for the time they actually work. Per the suit, the defendants have never conducted an analysis to determine whether their time clock system averages out, and according to the case, “it does not.”
“This rounding policy consistently and artificially reduces the total time Hourly Employees are credited with working at Defendants [sic] facilities,” the suit says.
The case further alleges the plaintiff was frequently interrupted from his unpaid 30-minute meal breaks and required to perform work for which he was not compensated. The suit alleges that as a result of the defendants’ rounding practices and failure to compensate the plaintiff for time spent working during his breaks, the man was deprived of proper wages for one to three hours of work per week.
Still further, the lawsuit alleges the plaintiff and other employees were not provided with proper pay rate acknowledgment forms at the beginning of their employment and when their hourly pay rates changed as required by the New York Labor Law, and did not receive weekly wage statements.
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