NY Nurses Request Class Certification For Unpaid Work During Breaks

Over 1,200 nurses represented by Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky requested a federal judge grant class certification to their allegations of unpaid wages at Arnot Health New York hospitals. The nurses claim automatic deductions for breaks occurred even as they worked through meals and breaks.

The nurse filed their claims for work performed at Arnot Ogden Medical Center, Ira Davenport Memorial Hospital and St. Joseph Hospital of Elmira.

Nurses Working Through Meals

When taking a meal break, a worker is to be relieved of their duties. If an employee must continue to work during their break, such as checking on patients or updating charts, they haven’t been given a break and employers should not deduct the time. The New York nurses claim that Arnot presumed nurses were able to take a 30 minute break, regardless of individual responsibilities that continued for nurses during their shift.

An Arnot Ogden Medical Center travel nurse said: “Arnot requires nurses to remain on-duty and ready to respond to patient needs, even in the rare occasions when they can steal away a few moments to eat”. The nurse also claimed new software in 2019 removed their ability to note missed meals, yet meals continued to be automatically deducted.

If you are being assigned work during a break or maintain responsibilities during a break, and your employer deducts the break, you have been underpaid for your labor. Other common forms of underpayment of wages for nurses include time spend “off the clock” on the job at the start or end of the day. These include filing or updating charts, health scans including temperature checks, or other process required by the employer to be performed before an employee clocks in or after they clock out.

Nurse Unpaid Wage Class Action

The New York nurses are seeking two classes, of around 750 and 550 staff nurses and travel nurses respectively. The nurses are seeking class certification for work done at the Arnot hospitals from October 2014 through the class notification. The nurses are seeking class certification claiming the systematic deductions occurred for all staff nurses, for all travel nurses, and the lack of procedures for break relief and the failure to properly itemize wage statements are universal.

The case was originally filed in October of 2020.

Nate Piller Wage and Hour Attorney

Nate Piller, representing the nurses, spoke with Law360 regarding the case and said:

“They aren’t able to get the rest and nourishment that they need on the job which creates a danger not only to the well-being of the nurses but also to the public… This problem of understaffing and nurse burnout, which is sort of illuminated by our case, is not just a development that has come with the pandemic. We’re hopeful that this case can give those nurses a voice and get justice for them.”

Wage and Employment Law Firm

If you believe you are not being paid for all of the time you have worked, or are not being paid the overtime due to you, we invite you to schedule a consultation with an employment law attorney from Schneider Wallace. 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.

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