UPMC, Allegheny Health Network settle employees' lunch-pay lawsuits

Three hospitals in UPMC and one hospital in Allegheny Health Network, both based in Pittsburgh, have settled lawsuits with seven employees who claimed their respective employers should have compensated them for working through meal breaks, according to a report from Trib Live.

UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside, UPMC McKeesport and UPMC Horizon in Greenville, Pa., agreed to pay six employees a total of $21,444, plus $35,000 in attorney's fees. West Penn Allegheny Health System agreed to pay one employee $2,392, as well as attorney's fees, which have not yet been determined, according to the report.

"We're pleased that the hospital system paid the employees in the cases in full, including their liquidated damages," J. Nelson Thomas, one of the attorneys representing the employees, told the Trib Live.

The claims were originally filed as class-action lawsuits, but in 2011 two federal judges ruled that the plaintiffs failed to prove that the health systems had a system-wide policy of not paying employees who work through breaks for meals. Each employee then had to pursue their claims individually instead of as a class.

The cases were resolved with the plaintiffs accepting offers of judgment from the hospitals.

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