Former nurse sues PeaceHealth over alleged unpaid meal breaks

A nurse filed a lawsuit against her former employer, PeaceHealth, alleging the Vancouver, Wash.-based system failed to provide 30-minute meal breaks because of understaffing, The Columbian reported March 5. 

The lawsuit was filed Feb. 27 on the behalf of Harmony Nelson, RN, a former employee, and the lawsuit seeks class-action status. It claims PeaceHealth violated state law for not enforcing 30-minute meal breaks or 10-minute rest breaks, failing to compensate workers for the overtime, and not tracking missed breaks, according to The Columbian.

The lawsuit seeks to claim damages for Ms. Nelson — who worked in a neonatal intensive care unit until January 2022 — and respiratory care practitioners, licensed practical nurses, surgical technologists, diagnostic radiologic technologists, cardiovascular invasive specialists and nursing assistants who have worked at PeaceHealth since 2021. 

"PeaceHealth values all employees and takes pride in being a top employer in Washington," a spokesperson told Becker's. "Out of respect for the legal process, we are unable to comment on litigation."

The filed lawsuit is seeking compensation for overtime; missed, late and interrupted breaks; and attorney fees and costs. The plaintiff is also asking for PeaceHealth to be required to track wage records and record missed break periods.

The first hearing is scheduled for Aug. 23.

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