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UIHC Healthcare Workers File Suit Alleging Delays In Overtime Pay

Roey Ahram via flickr creative commons
UIHC healthcare workers have filed a class action lawsuit alleging the hospital is not paying them on time for extra work.

Healthcare workers have filed suit against the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, alleging they aren’t being paid on time for extra work. The plaintiffs hope to have the case recognized as a class action, and say there are thousands of potential members who also not being paid in a timely fashion.

In a lawsuit filed this week in Johnson County District Court, two nurses and a physical therapist at the UIHC are alleging the hospital is delaying paying them for overtime, night shifts and other extra work beyond their scheduled hours.

In a court filing, they allege the UIHC maintains a “policy” of not paying these wage “adjustments” on time, instead allowing as much as two months to pass without paying the employees for their extra work, a practice the plaintiffs call “illegal."

“UIHC maintains a policy and practice of not paying these adjustments in the pay period when they are earned or within twelve days thereafter as required by Iowa law. Instead, these health care workers are routinely not paid their wage “adjustments” until one or two months after the period in which they were earned,” the filing reads.

The plaintiffs point to the Wage Payment Collection Law in Iowa Code, which directs employers to “pay all wages due its employees […] on regular paydays which are at consistent intervals from each other” and that “[a] regular payday shall not be more than twelve days, excluding Sundays and legal holidays, after the end of the period in which the wages are earned."

In the legal complaint, plaintiff and staff nurse Melinda Myers alleges the hospital once waited 87 days after she worked extra time to pay her, a total of 62 days after that pay period. Plaintiff and physical therapist Barbara Stanerson says she once had to wait 42 after working an extra shift to be paid for it.

Attorney Nate Willems of the Cedar Rapids firm Rush & Nicholson is representing the workers, and says this practice is wrong.

“The people being paid late is wrong. You need to follow the law. The money has more valuable to people when it is paid to them on time, and not a month or two months later,” Willems said.

Willems and his clients argue the UIHC is purposefully delaying the payment of workers for their extra time.

“We don’t believe that the university’s practice complies with the law. The university obviously believes that it does,” Willems said. “But what we’re describing is a feature and not a bug of the way the university pays their, the UIHC pays their employees.”

The plaintiffs estimate some 2,000 UIHC workers are affected and could be part of a class action. They’re asking a judge to let the case proceed as a class action, and to order the UIHC pay the workers damages for the delayed pay, and ensure they comply with wage laws.

“The people being paid late is wrong. You need to follow the law. The money has more valuable to people when it is paid to them on time, and not a month or two months later,” Willems said.

A spokesman for the UIHC says the university doesn’t comment on litigation.