San Diego Nursing Overtime Class Action Lawyer

San Diego Nursing Overtime Class Action Lawyer

Has your employer failed to pay the overtime pay you are owed in San Diego, CA? California has some of the strongest labor laws in the United States. Hospitals are required to provide nurses overtime pay, but many nurses have to overwork, skip breaks, or work off the clock. 

Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers was founded to help Southern California’s workers protect their employment rights. Contact our law office at (619) 693-7727 for a free consultation with a San Diego nursing overtime class action lawyer. We will help you explore whether a class action lawsuit is the best option to recover the unpaid wages you are owed.

How Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers Can Help with a Nursing Overtime Class Action Case

How Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers Can Help with a Nursing Overtime Class Action Case

Nurses are routinely subjected to wage theft and labor violations in California. When your employer fails to give you the overtime pay or rest breaks you are owed, you have rights. You do not need to fear losing your job or other retaliation; an experienced employment lawyer can help you seek your unpaid wages and protect your rights.

Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers was founded to fight the wrongs California workers encounter in all industries. Our employment attorneys have extensive experience navigating all types of employment cases, including employment class action lawsuits. We put our collective experience and resources to work for you. AVVO has awarded us a 10.0 Superb rating for our dedication to our clients.

Choose our employment law group in San Diego, California, and we will:

  • Conduct an investigation to determine which California labor laws your employer violated
  • Determine if other nurses have been affected in consideration of a nursing overtime class action lawsuit or PAGA claim
  • Help you document labor violations and value your unpaid wages
  • Negotiate on your behalf with your employer to seek the unpaid wages you are owed
  • Represent you in a wage claim or lawsuit to seek the wages you and other employees are owed
  • Protect you against retaliation or harassment 

Contact Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers today for a free consultation to explore your legal options.

Overview of California Overtime Laws for Nurses

There are several employment issues that commonly affect California nurses:

  • Unpaid or untaken rest breaks. Most nurses are entitled to meal and rest breaks under California law and cannot be required to work through their breaks.
  • Being required to perform work tasks before or after a shift. This is often done to help with emergency situations and provide critical patient care, but nurses are frequently not paid for this time.
  • Not being paid as a nurse on call. Nurses on call are not required to be paid a minimum wage, but this does not apply if your contract states otherwise.
  • Failing to provide overtime pay by improperly implementing an alternative workweek schedule.
  • Misclassifying nurses as “professionals” who are exempt from overtime pay. Most nursing staff are non-exempt and protected by overtime and rest break laws in California. 

California has strict wage and hour laws that provide for mandatory overtime, a minimum wage, and meal and rest breaks for non-exempt workers. Labor Code 510 LC is clear about how overtime is calculated and when it is owed. 

As a general rule, nurses are owed overtime pay at 1.5x their current pay rate when they:

  • Work over 8 hours in any given workday and
  • Work over 40 hours during a workweek, or
  • Work double time. 

You are typically eligible for overtime pay when you work between 8 and 12 hours on any workday. Or, you may be eligible for overtime for the first 8 hours you work on your seventh consecutive day in a single workweek.

Overtime or double time pay is owed at 2x your regular rate of pay. You qualify for this pay for hours worked past 12 hours in a single workday or for hours that exceed eight on your seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek.

If you agree to an alternative workweek with your employer, you can work up to 12 hours in a shift without being paid overtime for that workday. You must still be paid overtime if you exceed 40 hours of work in a workweek. 

However, an alternative workweek is only allowed if:

  • An election using secret ballots allows nurses to vote whether an alternative workweek will be allowed,
  • The workweek is registered with the California Division of Labor Statistics and Research, and
  • The schedule will be fixed and regular. 

While some professions are exempt from mandatory overtime, California labor law specifically states that this exemption does not apply to nurses. However, certified nurse practitioners (CNPs), midwives, and anesthetists are exempt.

You cannot be required to work off the clock without pay, including before or after your shift or during breaks. You also cannot be forced to take comp time or paid time off rather than overtime. You can request comp time instead of overtime as long as it is equal to your overtime rate.

Overtime Laws for Nurses Working in California State Facilities

Under AB 2155, special overtime rules apply to nurses who work in a state facility. This law prohibits nurses and certified nursing assistants from being forced to work overtime except in certain circumstances. 

Nurses covered by this law can’t be scheduled or required to work overtime without notice, unless one of the following applies:

  • An act of terrorism
  • An emergency
  • A catastrophic event that could not be anticipated
  • An emergency declared by the state medical facility
  • An outbreak of a disease

Nurses and certified nursing assistants can choose to work overtime at a state facility, but they cannot be terminated for refusing to do so. These exceptions to mandatory overtime cannot be used as an alternative to adequate staffing. 

Are Nurses Exempt from Overtime in San Diego, California?

California labor law is clear about which nurses are classified as non-exempt and which may be exempt from overtime laws. Some types of nurses are considered “professionals” under California labor law, and they are exempt from overtime pay. Most hospital staff are not considered professionals.

Whether you are exempt depends on three factors: 1) whether you have obtained an advanced license or certification; 2) the type of work you typically perform; and 3) how you are compensated. 

As a general rule:

  • Registered nurses are usually non-exempt and protected by overtime laws. An RN can be classified as exempt, however, if they meet the criteria for exemption for administrative or executive employees.  
  • Nurses with advanced certification, such as certified nurse practitioners (CNPs), certified midwives, and certified nurse anesthetists, are usually exempt.
  • Nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) often perform many of the same tasks as physicians, particularly in urgent care. These nurses, also called advanced practice providers (APPs), are usually exempt from overtime laws but not always. 

In 2005, a landmark case decided by the Fifth Circuit of Appeals ruled that nursing staff could no longer be exempt from overtime pay after decades of exploitation of the “professional” exemption. Nurse practitioners (NPs) were frequently classified as professionals prior to this ruling despite not being paid a yearly salary.

In Belt v. Emcare, Inc., the court ruled that PAs and NPs are exempt from overtime protection if they “practice medicine” as defined by 29 C.F.R. § 541.3. If they do not, they are subject to the salary basis test. If they do not meet this basis, they are non-exempt and eligible for overtime compensation.

Registered nurses (RNs) are generally non-exempt and protected by overtime rules. The exception is RNs who are primarily engaged in administrative and executive tasks and meet other white-collar exemption requirements in California.

How Do I Recover Unpaid Overtime in San Diego, CA?

Under California law, nurses who are not paid overtime and other wages have the right to bring an unpaid wage claim against their employer. 

This may be done in several ways:

  • An unpaid wage claim filed with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE),
  • An unpaid wage claim filed with a federal agency, or
  • A wage and hour lawsuit filed in a California court. This may be an individual lawsuit or a class action. 

Employers who have violated overtime laws have often violated many employees’ legal rights. In this case, a labor class action lawsuit can be brought against the employer.

The best option for recovering unpaid wages depends on the size of your claim, the number of affected employees, and your employer’s response to attempts to recover wages.

If your claim is successful, you can collect the amount of back wages you are owed. You may also be entitled to interest on the outstanding wages plus reasonable attorney’s fees and your court costs.

If the violation of labor laws was intentional and not the result of a good faith error, you can recover double damages.

What Are the Benefits of a Class Action Wage and Hour Lawsuit?

In a class action employment lawsuit, a large number of employees with similar grievances against the employer can sue collectively. This type of lawsuit is appropriate if your employer has violated overtime laws or other wage and hour laws for many or all nurses on staff.

There are two key benefits to filing a class action lawsuit rather than an individual wage and hour lawsuit against your employer:

  • The resources and time the employment attorney can invest in the case increase with larger damages and more plaintiffs.
  • The employer may be more likely to settle and pay unpaid wages to avoid an expensive and lengthy trial. 

Note that a wage and hour class action in San Diego requires a well-defined community of interest, a sufficiently large and definable class of plaintiffs, and benefits from the class action that make it preferable to individual lawsuits. This means class actions are best when a single employer has violated wage and hour laws for many employees and the violations were the same or similar for all employees under similar circumstances.

Contact a San Diego Nursing Overtime Class Action Lawyer for a Free Consultation

California nurses face a difficult and often thankless job day after day. If your employer has taken advantage of you and other nurses through overtime violations and other forms of wage theft, our San Diego nursing overtime class action lawyers are here to help you.

Contact Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers today for a free consultation to discuss your case. We will help you determine if a class-action lawsuit against your employer is appropriate and fight for the wages you are owed.