30 Sutter Health ASC employees allege company blocked breaks, seek lost wages

Current and former employees of Sutter Health's midtown Sacramento surgery center will accuse the organization of preventing them from taking breaks in hearings beginning May 7, The Sacramento Bee reports.

Here's what you should know.

1. About 30 employees will seek lost wages and penalties for rest periods and meal breaks they claim they were unable to take.

2. In copies of about half a dozen complaints obtained by The Bee, employees asked to be awarded up to tens of thousands of dollars.

Kelli Ortiz, RN, alleged she is owed approximately $26,084.88 for a period from Feb. 1, 2014, to April 1, 2015. Mary Jensen, RN, is seeking about $7,020.

3. "We take all employee concerns, including wage-and-hour claims, seriously. We have reviewed and investigated these particular claims and believe these employees have been paid appropriately. We respect our employees' rights to pursue their individual claims through the independent review of the California Labor Commissioner," Sutter spokeswoman Nancy Turner said in a statement emailed to Becker's ASC Review

4. Former Sutter employee John Damigos won a wage-and-hour dispute against Sutter several years ago and has been asked by 20 Sutter employees to help with their cases.

5. California law mandates hourly workers must receive at least a 30-minute meal break within the first five hours of work and a 10-minute rest break for every four hours worked, employment attorney Galen Shimoda said.

Employees are entitled to one extra hour of pay if they're not allowed to take a meal break. Similar compensation rules are in place for rest break law violations.

6. Several factors can prevent large organizations from complying, such as managing both hourly and salaried workers and operating vastly different types of facilities, according to Mr. Shimoda.

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