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Social Worker Takes on California Hospitals in Overtime Pay Class Action

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Los Angeles, CAA social worker likely never imagined she would one day serve as the lead plaintiff in a proposed class-action overtime pay lawsuit in California, and in so doing championing the cause on behalf of others similarly affected. But that’s what happened when Beauchamp signed on with the proposed class action against Prime Healthcare Centinela LLC (Prime Healthcare).

According to court records, the defendant operates 12 hospitals in the state. The overtime pay laws litigation hopes to represent 400 employees of the firm similarly denied overtime pay in accordance with California overtime law, as well as missed meal breaks and rest periods.

Beauchamp, in her lawsuit, claims amongst other allegations that her employer maintained policies that saw employees clock out while they were still actively engaged in work. It is further alleged unionized employees saw no compensation for work performed after they clocked out for the day.

Further, Beauchamp alleges that Prime Healthcare allowed for hourly employees to be taken “off the clock” for a variety of reasons during the workday, including the clocking out at a time that represented the conclusion of an employee’s “official” end-of-shift, in spite of the fact the employee was still actually working and undertaking tasks on behalf of the employer.

It is also alleged that meal breaks were counted as having been taken when, in fact, they were not - or so it is alleged. Such work performed off the clock, or during meal breaks, translates to a loss of overtime pay for the affected workers.

According to California overtime law, employers are required to pay their employees a rate of pay calculated at one and one-half times the regular hourly rate of pay for any work performed beyond a standard eight hour day, or beyond 40 hours in any given week.

According to court records, such accusations are not without precedent. In June 2011, three claimants sued the company over accusations Prime Healthcare engaged in unlawful activity in an alleged effort to avoid compliance with overtime pay laws in California. Prime Healthcare, just last month, agreed to settle the claims for $1.08 million.

Lead plaintiff Beauchamp is currently employed as a social worker at one of Prime Healthcare’s hospitals, in a job she has held since 2011. She hopes to represent all hourly, nonunionized social workers in the employ of Prime Healthcare, as well as others similarly affected.

Amongst the allegations, Beauchamp charges that Prime Healthcare fails to maintain and provide adequate pay records, and fails to provide severance and similar payments in a timely manner, in accordance with pay laws.

“In violation of state law, defendants have knowingly and willfully refused to perform their obligations to compensate plaintiffs for all wages earned and all hours worked,” the proposed class action states. “As a direct result, plaintiffs have suffered, and continue to suffer, substantial losses related to the use and enjoyment of such wages.”

The plaintiff, on behalf of others similarly affected, is seeking damages and civil penalties. The overtime pay lawsuit is Beauchamp et al. v. Prime Healthcare Centinela LLC et al., Case No. BC542351, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.


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