U of Iowa hospital workers suing over alleged pay delays request ruling in their favor

Workers accusing Iowa City-based University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics of failing to pay wages and overtime in a timely manner are asking a judge to end the dispute and issue a ruling in their favor, The Gazette reported Aug. 31.

The request came from attorney Nate Willems on behalf of workers included in a 2019 lawsuit.

"This court should grant summary judgement in plaintiffs' favor and find that defendant violated the [Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law] by paying its employees their earned wages, including for overtime, shift differentials and termination pay later than required by the statute," wrote Mr. Willems in court documents. "Furthermore, this court should find that [the] defendant is liable for liquidated damages as a matter of law even though it eventually pays the full amount of wages earned to its employees, albeit later than required by the IWPCL."  

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.    

On May 17, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa granted the lawsuit class-action status. With this status, Mr. Willems said the lawsuit covers about 8,000 positions and about 11,000 people, according to The Gazette

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics told Becker's Aug. 31 that it is unable to comment on the lawsuit because it is pending litigation.

In a statement it shared in May, the health system said it has made payroll changes in the last year, including making staff nurses and select professional classifications "nonexempt" positions.

"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."

Read The Gazette's full report here.  

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