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Stephene Ortega, an employee of National City's Paradise Valley Hospital since 2007, filed suit this week against its parent company, the Ontario-based Prime Healthcare Paradise Valley, charging the hospital with "systematic miscalculation of the overtime rate."

According to the suit, California law dictates that employees must be paid one and a half times their "regular rate of pay." But many employees work undesirable shifts, such as nights and weekends and reap differential wages, says the suit, and that differential pay is not used in calculating overtime.

Paradise Valley is South Bay's oldest hospital, and the largest employer in National City. Ortega would like the suit to be approved as a class-action representing all people working there during the past four years.

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Comments

Anon92107 April 18, 2014 @ 2:51 a.m.

Good grief Don, if they do this to their employees, I don't want to imagine what they do to their patients. Not a good idea to go to a hospital full of unhappy employees.

Another example of the rich get richer and the rest of us die sooner republican health plan.

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Don Bauder April 18, 2014 @ 6:13 a.m.

Anon92107: At this point these are allegations. The hospital may be able to show that its methodology for calculating overtime is acceptable. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel April 18, 2014 @ 9:29 a.m.

Federal wage laws require that shift differentials be included when calculating overtime pay. If I remember correctly, the extra 1/2 ot time pay is based on the regular rate of pay, which is total pay divided by the total hours worked, including the hours worked with a shift differential. You figure that hourly rate and the ot rate is that rate times 1.5 for all hours worked in excess of 8 and 40 or in some cases 8 and 80, which some hospitals use.

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Don Bauder April 18, 2014 @ 11:37 a.m.

danfogel: The suit cites state law in its argument about shift differential. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel April 23, 2014 @ 9:23 a.m.

Federal employment laws prescribe a minimum. If the state laws don't meet that minimum, the federal law supersedes the state laws.

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Don Bauder April 23, 2014 @ 12:47 p.m.

danfogel: I don't know but that sounds right. Best, Don Bauder

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eli_k April 22, 2014 @ 3:30 p.m.

The average annual salary for registered nurses in San Diego is about $84,900. An entry level person can expect an annual salary of $62,940 while a more senior level person can expect a salary of $113,940, according to salaries-by-city.findthedata.org/. Most hospital nurses have the option to work 8 hour (5x week) or 12 hour shifts (3x week) - which many prefer to spend more time with their children. Not very many jobs pay as well with such flexibility.

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Don Bauder April 22, 2014 @ 4:42 p.m.

eli_k: That sounds very generous. The last time I checked, several years ago, I was using federal data. I don't remember nurses' pay being that high, but I don't trust my memory on that one. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh April 19, 2014 @ 9:44 a.m.

Anon makes a good point. Do you want to be in a hospital where the staff is unhappy? But there is another related issue, and that is nursing staff fatigue. Nearly all the acute care hospitals in the state now operate with twelve hour shifts. I find it very hard to understand how anyone can be at his or her best after nine or ten hours on duty in a high-stress environment, such as a hospital full of sick or injured people. Yet, this pattern of two shifts instead of three, which was the norm thirty or forty years ago, was supposedly adopted because the nurses preferred it. My understanding is that most nurses work only three days a week, and never more than four, given that the shifts are so long and arduous. If that is the case, under wage and hour laws, they must be at the time-and-a-half overtime rate for at least two of those twelve hours. That also implies that these overtime issues affect every nurse in the hospital, not just a few.

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Don Bauder April 19, 2014 @ 12:45 p.m.

Visduh: I agree with you 100%. Nurses should not have to work 12-hour shifts. It is simply dangerous. Nurses are underpaid for many reasons, and one is the calculation of overtime. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi April 19, 2014 @ 11:19 a.m.

Federal and state law require workers paid hourly receive time-and-a-half for (any, all, no exceptions) hours worked after 8 hours in the same shift. Several McDonald's franchises are being sued for under paying workers who worked overtime. It seems many companies are taking advantage of low-skill workers, especially those who lack English fluency. Many people are afraid to report the abuse because they fear for their job.

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Don Bauder April 19, 2014 @ 12:47 p.m.

Ponzi: Right on target, Ponzi. People in low-level jobs are grossly underpaid. Yet Obama will have a tough time getting an increase in the minimum wage through Congress. Today's Robber Barons own the Supreme Court and most of Congress. Best, Don Bauder

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