SAN FRANCISCO –The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled an unpaid overtime lawsuit brought by a nursing coordinator for Concentric Healthcare Systems may proceed to trial in a lower District Court to determine whether or not her position with the company may be overtime exempt. Originally filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona by two plaintiffs, the lawsuit claims the defendant intentionally misclassified two-individuals as overtime exempt when their job duties did not meet the requirements for exempt status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
While the lower District Court ruled in summary judgement that one plaintiff’s job duties did not rise to the level of responsibility required under the FLSA and that case was eventually settled, the plaintiff named in the Appeals case was not as successful. Fortunately, the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court judges determined the elements of her case should be considered by a jury.
Under the FLSA, overtime exempt “administrative employees” must meet the following criteria:
- The individual must be compensated on a salary or fee basis at a rate of not less than $455 per week;
- His or her primary duty must be the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers; and
- His or her primary duty must include the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance
The District Court judge felt the defense’s classification satisfied all three elements, and ruled for summary judgement on behalf of the defense. In their decision, the three-judge Appeals Court panel felt the lower court did not properly consider testimony offered by the plaintiff and determined the third element of the exemption status should be considered at trial.
Specifically, the court felt a jury should examine whether the plaintiff had the power to discipline nurses working below her. Because the ruling came from an Appeals Court, businesses may have to reexamine their own business practices and how employees are classified.
Health Care Worker Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit
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Our office will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. Because strict time limitations apply for filing these types of claims, we advise you contact our experienced unpaid overtime wage attorneys at your earliest convenience and preserve your legal rights.