53 nurses accuse Tenet-owned hospital of labor violations

Fifty-three nurses at Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton, Calif., have filed claims against the hospital, alleging it violated California labor laws, according to lawyers representing the nurses.

According to an earlier lawsuit filed by nine nurses in March 2015, Twin Cities, which is owned by Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, has routinely violated the nurses' workplace rights, the lawyers said. Nurses allege the hospital is drastically understaffed, leaving them unable to take state-mandated breaks. They also allege supervisors instructed nurses to take breaks by simply walking away from their patients, without providing a "break nurse" to ensure proper coverage.

Additionally, nurses accuse Twin Cities of failing to pay nurses properly for years, and claim the hospital has required nurses to work off the clock to avoid paying overtime.

Nurses have raised these issues with management repeatedly since 2010, but the hospital has failed to remedy the problems identified in the lawsuit, prompting 53 nurses to file their own additional claims this month, the lawyers said.

"After the lawsuit was filed, the parties attempted to resolve their dispute informally from May 2015 to August 2016 through a mediation process…Once those efforts failed, we moved ahead and filed the individual claims in arbitration on Oct. 3, 2016," attorney Lauren Teukolsky with Baltodano & Baltodano told Paso Robles Daily News.

Hospital spokesman Ron Yukelson replied to a request for comment from Paso Robles Daily News saying: "We have and will continue to defend the hospital against the pending action. Twin Cities Community Hospital staffs based on patient need and in accordance with state laws. We are committed to providing safe, high-quality care to every patient."

Ms. Teukolsky said a court hearing is scheduled for Oct. 25, according to the report.


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