Intermountain faces nurse complaints over lunch break policies: 5 things to know

A former nurse at Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare claims the health system automatically deducts nurse's pay for a 30-minute lunch break, even if nurses do not take a break during their shift, reports The Salt Lake Tribune.

Here are five things to know.

1. Brandon King, RN, worked as a nurse at Intermountain for 13 years before being fired last year. He believes the health system terminated him for complaining about the alleged automatic pay deductions.

2. Mr. King claims nurses rarely find 30 minutes of uninterrupted time for meals during their shifts and must eat at their desks or on the go.

"If a nurse cannot be safely and completely relieved of duty, she must not be relieved of pay," he told The Salt Lake Tribune. "This is the minimum [requirement] of the Fair Labor Standards Act."

3. Nurses can request reimbursement for incomplete, interrupted or missed meal breaks, according to Mr. King. However, he questions why Intermountain puts the responsibility on nurses to fix inaccurate paychecks and claims the health system discourages nurses from seeking such corrections.

4. Mr. King filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor, and the department's wage and hour division is currently investigating Intermountain.

"No other information is available until the investigation is complete," Juan Rodriguez, a Labor Department spokesman in Dallas, told The Salt Lake Tribune.

5. Intermountain spokesman Daron Cowley confirmed the Department of Labor has contacted the health system regarding its lunch break policies.

"Intermountain is fully cooperating with the review and has provided information concerning its policies and practices," Intermountain said in a statement to Becker's Hosptial Review. "Intermountain complies with federal and state statutes and regulations regarding payment for hours worked. Intermountain is grateful for our dedicated caregivers and has policies in place to pay caregivers for all the work they provide for the benefit of patients."

 

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