HCA accused of withholding pay of 1,000 workers

HCA Healthcare faces a lawsuit alleging its Asheville, N.C.-based Mission Health illegally kept pay from at least 1,000 employees, the Citizen Times reported May 6.

Sharon McRee — who said she worked as a nonexempt, hourly respiratory therapist at Mission from July 2002 through its 2019 acquisition by Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA before leaving in July 2022 — alleges she and approximately 1,000 or more employees "clocked in as required and performed the principal activities of their jobs," but their employer "generally did not pay them for all of their time worked," according to the lawsuit, which was accessed by Becker's.

The lawsuit also contends employees "regularly worked, stopped working and clocked out at the end of their workdays," but their employer "generally did not pay them for all of their time worked."

Their employer instead "paid them based on post-edited, rounded, modified and inaccurate and/or incomplete records which do not include all compensable work required by, performed for and to the benefit of [the] defendant," the lawsuit said. "[The] defendant willfully manipulated both the beginning and end of shift time records…to reflect less time worked when defendant submitted these employees' records to payroll, resulting in less time paid than time worked."

Additionally, the lawsuit alleges failure to pay overtime as appropriate and that Ms. McRee and others "never, or rarely, received an actual [meal] break, as they were performing their healthcare and related jobs during the supposed 'breaks' that were automatically deducted. Plaintiff almost always worked through what was supposed to be her meal break."

Nancy Lindell, a spokesperson for Mission Health, told Becker's that the allegations in this lawsuit "are baseless" and that the health system "will defend itself through the legal process."

Ms. McRee seeks to recover unpaid compensation and overtime pay, as well as liquidated damages, penalties, interest, reasonable attorneys fees, costs, declaratory and injunctive relief, and any other appropriate relief, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, on behalf of the affected employees. 

The lawsuit was filed April 25 in the Western District of North Carolina in Asheville.


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