Judge allows more workers to join class-action suit against U of Iowa Hospitals

A federal judge has ruled that a lawsuit alleging Iowa City-based University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics failed to pay wages and overtime in a timely manner should have class-action status for two more groups, The Gazette reported May 20.

U.S. District Judge Stephanie Rose in Iowa certified two classes this week. The classes include union members and blue-collar workers who were not paid until more than a dozen days after their pay period ended, according to the report. They have worked for the health system since 2017, the year the employee union lost collective bargaining rights.

The judge also certified class status for union and blue-collar workers who have worked for the health system since 2017, and were since terminated and have not received certain accrued or unused accumulated benefits by what would have been the next regular day on which they got paid, according to the report.

Certification of the two classes came after the judge had already certified a class of University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics workers alleging the health system did not pay wage adjustments for overtime work in a timely fashion.

In a statement shared with Becker's, University of Iowa hospital officials said they made payroll changes in the last year, including making staff nurse and select professional classifications "nonexempt" positions to comply with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

"This change resulted in a transition to four-week work schedules, as opposed to the previously available six-week work schedule, which assisted in the alignment of schedules to payroll dates," the health system said. "UI Health Care also transitioned to a biweekly payment period for employees eligible to receive overtime and other pay adjustments. These changes have helped UI Health Care better align its pay practices with other healthcare providers across the country."

The lawsuit was originally filed in August 2019 by two nurses and a physical therapist. It accuses University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics of not paying wage adjustments for overtime until one to two months after the overtime had been worked.   

Read The Gazette's full report here

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