CHI Health settles suit over nurses' on-call pay

Omaha, Neb.-based CHI Health agreed to pay $800,000 in a class-action lawsuit filed by its nurses over remote, on-call work they allegedly performed without proper compensation, Omaha World-Herald reported Feb. 16.

The case began four years ago when seven nurses sued the health system. They alleged the hospital they worked at violated state and federal wage laws by only paying on-call nurses $2 an hour on weekdays, and $2.50 on weekends, to answer calls, emails, texts and occasionally answer patient questions through October 2018. They also alleged nurses within the system weren't paid overtime when their on-call hours and regular hours exceeded 40 hours a week.

The $800,000 settlement amounted to about 47 percent of the maximum wages owed to the class, according to the report, which "compares favorably to results achieved in other wage and hour class action suits approved in this circuit." In addition, the hospital agreed to pay $96,000 in litigation expenses and just under $654,000 in attorneys' fees.

A spokesperson said although they consistently denied the core allegations in the lawsuit, "CommonSpirit (CHI's parent company) made the business decision to resolve the case. We look forward to having this matter behind us and continuing to execute on our mission, vision and values."

CHI Health appreciates all the work their nurses do, the spokesperson added. "They are on the front lines of patient care and core to our mission. We pay our nurses generously and go to great lengths to ensure compliance with all applicable wage and hour laws."

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