Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, a pediatric hospital with primary locations in Hartford and Waterbury, has been accused of misclassifying nursing specialists in violation of federal and Connecticut overtime laws. In a new class action lawsuit, two former nurses at Waterbury Hospital say their employer has failed to pay overtime wages for years.
Lawsuit: Waterbury Hospital Steals Nurse Overtime
The two women, who live in New Hartford and Harwinton, are former employees of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, a non-profit pediatric hospital with primary locations in Hartford and Waterbury. In their lawsuit, which is now pursuing certification as a class and collective action, the two nurses describe numerous occasions on which they worked far longer than 40 hours in a week, but received no overtime pay. This policy, the Plaintiffs write, is a blatant violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as the Connecticut Wage Statute.
The class action was filed in the US District Court for Connecticut on May 11, 2017 and registered as case number 3:17-cv-00782. The Plaintiffs are being represented by the experienced unpaid overtime lawyers at WageAdvocates.com. To learn more about the lawsuit, contact our attorneys at any time.
Hourly Pediatric Nurses Have Overtime Rights
Some pediatric nurses who receive a salary are not eligible for overtime wages. Depending on a nurse’s level of education, job duties and salary amount, a portion of employees will fall into the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “learned professional” exemption, which excludes a class of workers who have reached a certain measure of expertise in their field.
Making a salary, however, is critical to this exemption; it simply doesn’t apply to nurses who are paid on an hourly basis. Decades of guidance from the US Department of Labor have confirmed this wisdom, holding that the “learned professional” exemption applies only when an employee satisfies both a job duties and salary test.
The American Academy of Physician Assistants has also weighed in on this issue, confirming without equivocation that physician’s assistants who are paid hourly “do not fall into the ‘learned professionals’ category or any other exempt category, and the employer is required under the law to pay them at least time-and-one-half for any hours over 40 worked in a week.”
Hospital “Misclassified” Nurses, Workers Say
Despite this widespread and long-standing agreement between experts, two former nurses who worked for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center say their old employer has been classifying hourly nurses as “learned professionals” for years.
The class action has been filed on behalf of current and former neonatal and pediatric Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and Physician’s Assistants who worked for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center within the last year. The complaint notes that, beyond Waterbury Hospital, some of these employees may also have taken shifts at Saint Mary’s Hospital. Alongside Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and Physician’s Assistants, the class action’s allegations may also apply to workers who performed similar duties, but hold different job titles. The specific job duties mentioned in the lawsuit include:
- attending high risk deliveries in the Family Birthing Unit
- admitting, performing physical exams, developing plans of care and providing care for infants in the Special Care Nursery and the inpatient level 2 NICU
- discussing plans and procedure with patients’ families
- providing pediatric consults in the emergency room
About Connecticut Children’s Medical Center
Connecticut Children’s is the main teaching hospital for the University of Connecticut’s pediatrics program. The Medical Center also operates satellite primary and specialty care centers throughout the state of Connecticut, with a second neonatal intensive care unit in Farmington. The newly-filed class action, however, notes alleged wage and hour violations in two specific facilities that offer nursing services through Connecticut Children’s Medical Center:
- Waterbury Hospital
- 64 Robbins Street
- Waterbury, CT 06708
- Saint Mary’s Hospital
- 56 Franklin Street
- Waterbury, CT 06706
Waterbury Hospital is the second largest employer in Waterbury, behind only the City’s government. Saint Mary’s is a Catholic non-profit hospital that contracts for nursing services with Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. The class action’s allegations, however, may apply equally to all facilities operated by Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Notably, both Plaintiffs in this new nursing overtime class action received a shift deferential for working outside of normal hours. That fact does not have any impact on their eligibility for overtime pay.