Nurses working at a large hospital facility in Houston are suing for employee time violations related to inadequate lunch breaks. According to a report from the Houston Chronicle, registered nurses, patient-care associates, nursing assistants and other medical professionals working at the facility state that although the hospital routinely deducts 30 minutes as a designated lunch break for employees, these individuals are rarely able to take an uninterrupted meal period.
Plaintiffs state in their complaint that many times they are forced to work through their lunch breaks to deal with patient issues and concerns. Additionally, it's a common occurrence that many employees don't have the opportunity to take a meal break at all, despite the mandatory 30 minute deduction.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, if an employer has established a dedicated meal break period, then that time is unpaid as long as the employee is not performing work related duties.
The lawsuit is seeking class-action status, back wage payments and other financial damages that cover the last three years. The Chronicle reports that as many as 5,000 workers could potentially be affected by the hospital's practice.
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A Houston-based hospital system recently agreed to pay more the $4 million for various FLSA violations that affected more than 4,500 employees.
In 2011, three former Houston firefighters sued the city, alleging that illegal deductions were made from their retirement pay.
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