Health Workers Granted Conditional Certification in Colorado Hospital Overtime Lawsuit

Schneider Wallace represents hospital workers in a collective wage and hour lawsuit brought against Delta County Memorial Hospital (DCMH) in October 2019.  The lawsuit alleges the Colorado hospital network required nurses and other staff to work before they clocked in, work after their shifts ended, work after they clocked out, and failed to provide uninterrupted meal breaks.  On March 2, 2021, U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson granted the health care workers’ motion for conditional certification, finding that the plaintiff’s complaint “provided substantial allegations that effectively forced hourly patient care employees to work unpaid overtime while off-the-clock.” Judge Jackson described DCMH’s bid against certification as “unconvincing” and rejected DCMH’s argument that the workers could not be a collective because their schedules varied.   

The collective includes non-exempt employees of Delta County Memorial Hospital if they worked in patient care. Patient care roles include nurses and nursing assistants, technicians, and other patient roles from October 15, 2016 to present.  The claims certified include both unpaid overtime and unpaid regular hours. 

Unpaid Overtime 

Employees are entitled to overtime pay based on federal and state laws. Under Colorado law, any time worked beyond 40 hours per week, 12 hours per day, or twelve consecutive hours across two days is considered overtime. Employees who have worked overtime must be paid time and one-half.  That means that a nurse who regularly earns $30 per hour must receive $45 per hour during overtime periods. 

It is illegal to not pay overtime to employees who have earned it. 

Meal Period Laws 

According to the State of Colorado, employees shall be: 

Entitled to an uninterrupted and duty-free meal period of at least a 30-minute duration when the shift exceeds five consecutive hours of work. Such meal periods, to the extent practical, shall be at least one hour after the start, and one hour before the end, of the shift. Employees must be completely relieved of all duties and permitted to pursue personal activities for a period to qualify as non-work, uncompensated time. When the nature of the business activity or other circumstances make an uninterrupted meal period impractical, the employee shall be permitted to consume an on-duty meal while performing duties. Employees shall be permitted to fully consume a meal of choice on the job and be fully compensated for the on-duty meal period without any loss of time or compensation. 

Nurses, like all employees, get additional rest periods. The number of 10minute rest periods per shift depends on the length of the work shift: 

Work Hours 


Rest Periods Required 

2 or fewer 



Over 2, and up to 6 



Over 6, and up to 10 



Over 10, and up to 14 



Over 14, and up to 18 



Over 18, and up to 22 



Over 22 



A nurse working a 12hour shift would be entitled to 3 separate uninterrupted rest periods. A shift that goes past midnight does not change the number of rest periods required. 

Schedule a Free Wage and Hour Employment Legal Consultation 

If you believe you are not being paid for all the time you have worked or are not being paid the overtime due to you, we invite you to schedule a consultation with our employment attorneys. Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky LLP is a national law firm that represents employees in a wide range of employment law cases, including class action lawsuits involving the failure to pay wages, overtime pay and commissions.