Medical and Healthcare Workers Overtime Pay Attorney

San Diego Labor Class Actions

If you work in the medical field and believe you have been denied overtime pay, contact a medical and healthcare workers overtime pay attorney today. You may be entitled to compensation.

Medical and healthcare workers are some of the hardest-working individuals in the world. They hold a vast knowledge of how the human body works and have dedicated their lives to helping people understand and fight their illnesses, their injuries, and their pain. They deserve overtime benefits more than most workers, and under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), they are covered.

Exempt vs. Nonexempt in Healthcare

People often forget that healthcare workers are doing a job just like the rest of us. It may be a very noble and respectable job, but it is still a job, and it comes with certain workers’ rights. However, the medical industry is a field of work that carries with it possible exemptions from overtime pay. The professional exemption of the FLSA criteria is what is commonly applied to healthcare workers to declare them exempt from overtime. 

For a healthcare worker to meet the federal professional exemption and not qualify for overtime pay, they have to meet many certain criteria:

  • They must be paid a salary at a rate of no less than $684 per week, or two times the state minimum wage for full-time employment.
  • Their primary duty must employ specific knowledge that is intellectual and requires frequent use of personal judgment and discretion.
  • Their specific knowledge must be in a field of science and/or learning.
  • Their specific knowledge must have been acquired over a prolonged course of study.

Any of the above criteria describes an exempt healthcare worker. The following are specific jobs or careers that can be considered exempt under California labor laws:

  • White-collar jobs (administrative and executive employees).
  • Doctors of any kind.
  • Surgeons of any kind.
  • Public employees.
  • Computer and IT professionals.
  • Workers in the University of California System.

Any hospital employee whose career does not fit into one of those categories is considered nonexempt under California labor laws and is eligible for overtime pay, as well as meal/rest breaks and a minimum wage.

How Do Nurses Factor Into Exemption?

When it comes to understanding how nurses factor into exemptions, the law can be complicated. There are many different types of nurses employed by different entities for different reasons with different job descriptions. It is important to know how some of these healthcare professionals are classified under California labor laws.

  • Registered Nurses (RNs): Under California labor laws, a registered nurse is considered a nonexempt worker unless they satisfy the legal requirements to be considered white-collar workers, which would mean they primarily do administrative work. Registered nurses who are paid hourly are nonexempt and are thus entitled to overtime pay. Registered nurses who are employed publicly by state, city, or county hospitals are exempt employees.
  • Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs): These types of medical workers typically do not meet the professional exemption criteria despite their intense training. They are entitled to overtime.
  • Medical Techs and Lab Techs: Medical technicians generally do not meet the criteria for the professional exemption unless they have completed three years of accredited coursework and a fourth year in medical school. They are entitled to overtime.
  • Physician Assistants (PAs): Physician assistants generally do meet the professional exemption requirements, and they are not entitled to overtime if they have completed four years of professional education, have graduated from an accredited physician assistant program, and have been certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.
Medical and Healthcare Workers Overtime Pay Attorney

Overtime Violations in the Medical Workplace

Like every other job in modern society, people expect to be properly compensated for their work. That’s a fair ask in exchange for consistent employment. That includes overtime if the employee qualifies for it under California labor laws. Employers can be reluctant to provide overtime and may go out of their way to keep employees from getting it.

If your employer is willfully manipulating you and your job description to prevent you from obtaining overtime pay, you may have a case for wage theft and should contact an attorney. Here are some common medical workplace overtime violations that may occur due to an unreasonable employer:

  • Misclassifying an employee as exempt to prevent them from getting overtime pay.
  • Ignoring the established “80 and 8 System.” In this widely used system, the worker must be paid time and a half for any hours worked over 8 in a workday and 80 in a 14-day period. This is a pre-established agreement you would work out with your employer before implementation.
  • Willfully failing or refusing to implement the 80 and 8 system after agreeing to do so with the employee.
  • Deducting for meal breaks while the worker is “on call” or still performing their work duties.
  • Working off the clock and refusing to credit the hours towards overtime.
  • Failing to include bonuses or on-call fees in the overall rate of pay.
  • Failing to total all hours worked in all departments when determining overtime.

Misclassified in the Healthcare Worker Industry

If you believe you have been misclassified as an exempt professional worker when you are, in fact, nonexempt, you should reach out to a medical and healthcare workers overtime pay attorney who can help you understand whether you are considered exempt or nonexempt. If you have been misclassified, you may be entitled to compensation from your employer.

A nonexempt employee who has been wrongfully classified as exempt has the right to sue their employer for unpaid overtime, as well as for interest, previously earned meal and rest breaks, and litigation costs.

It is important for you to realize and understand if your employer has willfully taken advantage of your position in an effort to pay you less than you deserve. Overtime violations, if you qualify for it under California labor laws, include the following:

  • Failing to pay overtime for work that exceeds 8 hours per day.
  • Failing to pay overtime for work that exceeds 40 hours per week.
  • Failing to pay overtime for work that exceeds more than six days in a row.
  • Forcing an employee to work off the clock.
  • Forcing an employee to work during their required lunch break.
  • Willfully misclassifying employees as “exempt” or as “independent contractors.”

If you have dealt with any of these overtime violations and are seeking compensation for your work, reach out to an attorney as soon as possible so you can learn what your next steps can be in pursuing an overtime violation suit against your employer or former employer. It is also important to keep in mind that anybody acting on behalf of your employer is also liable for any potential overtime violation they may have introduced to you, including office managers and building owners.

An experienced attorney understands what steps to take to ensure you are not taken advantage of by your employer. They will:

  • Investigate your situation thoroughly and uncover whether or not you have been financially wronged by your employer.
  • Identify any other possible employees who are also being taken advantage of.
  • Ensure that you have followed all the necessary steps to file an overtime violation claim.
  • Assist you in gathering the proper evidence to support your claim.
  • Negotiate on your behalf with your employer to reach a settlement.
  • Take the claim to court if it comes to that and represent your interests.
  • Protect yourself from possible retaliation by your employer.

Find the Right Overtime Pay Attorney for Your Situation

It can be difficult to deal with an overtime pay violation, particularly if you are already unsure of your exempt or nonexempt employee classification. This is all on top of already working in one of the most stressful industries in the world. Being a healthcare professional carries with it a great deal of personal strain and worldly respect. 

It’s a job that dedicates itself to helping people at their most vulnerable and putting your own life on the line on a daily basis when battling diseases and dangerous individuals. The last thing you need to add to your life is a new understanding of how your job is classified because your employer tried to take advantage of you financially simply to provide you with a cheaper workforce devoid of overtime pay. 

Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers are dedicated to making sure you fully understand your employment situation and are able to seek compensation for any wrongdoing that may have been done to you. As a healthcare worker, your life has enough risk attached to it every single day. Let us take it from here and help you navigate this new stress by providing you with sound legal counsel. Contact us to schedule a consultation as soon as you can. We are ready to help you.