Texas hospital settles overtime dispute with 197 ER employees

University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas, paid $119,117 in back wages to 197 emergency room employees to settle overtime and record-keeping violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The payment stems from an investigation by the DOL's Wage and Hour Division that found University Medical Center automatically deducted 30 minutes for lunch from ER staff's timesheets regardless of whether they took meal breaks. The hospital violated the FLSA when ER employees worked through their breaks and remained unpaid.

The hospital also violated the FLSA by failing to accurately track ER employees' break times, according to the DOL.

"UMC worked cooperatively with the Department of Labor to review and resolve this matter," the hospital said in a statment to EverythingLubbock.com. "Automatic deductions for lunch has been a standard practice for many hospitals and other healthcare facilities. UMC had methods by which employees could report a missed lunch, but those methods were not effective in capturing all missed lunches. UMC no longer uses automatic deductions. UMC values its employees and works to assure accurate payment."

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