San Francisco, CA: A unpaid wages wages class action lawsuit filed against US Nursing has reached a tentative $1.8 million settlement. The lawsuit claims that US Nursing Corp failed to adequately compensate California nursing staff that were sent to replace striking employees.
The named lead plaintiff in the wages and hour class action, Shameka Bolton, filed the lawsuit (Shameka Bolton v. US Nursing Corp., case number 3:12-cv-04466 US District Court for the Northern District of California) in July 2012, claiming the company failed to fully compensate its employees violates California labor law. According to the lawsuit, when US Nursing deploys its employees around the country, it places them in hotels and requires them to take buses to and from the hospitals. But the company allegedly failed to pay the replacement nurses for the time they spent on the buses or for the time they spent waiting at the hospitals before and after their shifts.
Additionally, the lawsuit claims the nursing company deducted a 30-minute meal break from its nurses' time sheets regardless of whether the nurses actually recorded those periods on their sheets or not, and irrespective of whether the nurses were actually able to take the meal break.
Further, the lawsuit alleges US Nursing’s payment schedule, which paid the nurses on a weekly basis, usually during the week after the strike ended, violates California labor code, which says temporary employees who work during labor disputes must be paid on a daily basis.
If the settlement is approved, under the terms presently stipulated, US Nursing would pay $1.7 million to a class of more than 2,500 nurses and $15,000 to California's Labor and Workforce Development Agency, as well as $77,000 in payroll taxes.
The settlement also seeks to conditionally certify the class of nurses, which is defined as U.S. Nursing employees who were placed to work in California health facilities during labor disputes between July 28, 2008, through the present.
“Such an order is appropriate because the proposed settlement meets the legal standard for preliminary approval and is in the best interests of the class,” the motion says. “The proposed notice explains the settlement terms in a clear and straightforward manner; the proposed notice procedures provide the best practicable notice to the class; and class members will have an opportunity to dispute the calculation of settlement awards and object to the settlement.”
The proposed settlement also seeks to conditionally certify a subclass of nurses whose time sheets contain a half-hour meal-period deduction, when the nurses never indicated that they took such a break. Bolton estimates that the subclass contains at least 489 individuals.
According to the motion, class members are expected to receive an average settlement award of approximately $645 dollars.