Nurse sues Washington health system over unpaid breaks

A nurse at Bremerton, Wash.-based Harrison Medical Center filed a class-action lawsuit against Tacoma, Wash.-based Franciscan Health System, claiming the system fails to properly compensate employees for meal breaks, reports the Kitsap Sun.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court April 9 on behalf of all nurses at the health system in the name of Hana Etcheverry, a nurse at Harrison Medical Center. Ms. Etcheverry claims the nurses' unpaid breaks are "continuously subject to interruption," which violates the Fair Labor Standards Act and Washington state law, according to court documents cited by the Kitsap Sun.

The lawsuit claims Franciscan Health System does not pay nurses for work performed during their meal breaks. It also alleges the health system encourages break interruptions by mandating nurses carry electronic devices for communication purposes.

"We are aware of the recent filing, are looking into all the matters raised in the complaint, and will handle all appropriately," Cary Evans, CHI Franciscan's vice president for communications and government affairs, told the Kitsap Sun. "CHI Franciscan takes the allegations seriously, and we are committed to fair treatment for all of our employees."

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