MU Health Care settles class-action lawsuit over payroll practices for $3.6M

Columbia-based University of Missouri Health Care has agreed to pay $3.6 million to resolve a lawsuit filed by two employees claiming the health system was "unjustly enriched" by the setup of its timekeeping system, according to The Columbia Missourian.

MU Health Care pays time-and-a-half for every hour an employee works beyond 40 hours per week. However, employees are not paid for uninterrupted 30-minute meal breaks they take during eight-hour shifts. According to the employees' lawsuit, which was filed in May 2016, the health system would deduct the 30-minute breaks, even if employees did not take the meal break or did not take the full half-hour, according to the report. 

Under an agreement reached Dec. 13, the two employees who filed the lawsuit will receive $5,000 each. After attorneys' fees are deducted, the rest of the $3.6 million settlement will be distributed among more than 2,000 current and former employees who are part of the class-action lawsuit.

"While MU Health Care believes that it has acted in accordance with law regarding its payroll practices, the settlement prevents further legal expenses and ends any uncertainty created by the pending litigation," the health system said in a statement.

The preliminary settlement requires approval by the Boone County (Mo.) District Court.

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