Class-action suit accuses Trinity Health of cheating workers out of overtime pay

Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health and two of its subsidiaries are facing a punitive class-action lawsuit alleging hourly wage workers were shorted overtime pay, a violation of federal and state wage laws.

Here are seven things to know:

1. The lawsuit was filed against Trinity Health, Conshohocken, Pa.-based Mercy Health System and Camden, N.J.-based Lourdes Health System. It was brought by John Layer, a medical lab technician for Trinity Health, on behalf of himself and other employees in a similar situation. Mr. Layer is jointly employed by the three defendants, paid an hourly wage and classified as non-exempt from federal and state overtime laws. Mercy Health and Lourdes Health are fully owned by Trinity.

2. Mr. Layer is seeking relief under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act, which generally both require employees to receive overtime pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a seven-day week. This obligation is modified for hospitals and other healthcare providers so that workers receive overtime pay when their work hours exceed 80 hours in a 14-day period. 

3. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff argues Trinity fails to pay adequate overtime to employees who work more than 40 hours a week, or 80 hours a pay period, at two or more Trinity locations.

4. In particular, Mr. Layer claims he worked 80.25 hours at Mercy Philadelphia Hospital, part of the Mercy Health System, and 16.75 hours at two hospitals that are part of the Lourdes Health System. Combined, he worked 97 hours in a 14-day period, which equates to 17 overtime hours. However, he only received overtime pay for .25 hours, or 15 minutes.

5. The lawsuit alleges the defendants limited overtime pay to the hours worked at just one health system, instead of combining the hours, in violation of federal and state wage laws.

6. "Defendants have willfully violated the overtime pay mandates of the FLSA and PMWA through their reckless disregard of [a U.S. regulation] and other well-established provisions," the lawsuit reads.

7. The plaintiff, on behalf of himself and the class, is seeking unpaid overtime compensation, prejudgment interest, liquidated damages and reimbursement of any litigation and attorneys fees.

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