Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, California, will pay $2.95 million in a lawsuit alleging it shortchanged the hourly pay of employees. The most recent settlement stems from litigation filed in 2014 by Jeanette Munden, a former Los Robles nurse who alleged her hourly pay was routinely rounded in a way that short-changed her check.
Ventura County Superior Court Judge Kevin DeNoce, appointed by Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, has approved a settlement against Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, California, ruling that the center will pay $2.95 million over a lawsuit alleging it shortchanged the hourly pay of employees, prevented them from taking lunch breaks and committed other labor code violations.
The settlement includes approximately 3,000 current and former hospital employees who will split nearly $1.9 million with an average payout totaling $618. The hospital will also be responsible for paying $973,500 to cover fees of the attorneys who represented the workers in addition to $10,000 in state labor code penalties for alleged violations. The settlement did not include an admission of any wrongdoing although the facility has faced allegations of similar violations in the past.
“Los Robles denied all allegations,” hospital officials said. “Los Robles settled the matter on a no-fault basis in order to keep its focus on providing the best quality patient care rather than litigation.”
Marcus Bradley of Bradley/Grombacher LLP, the Westlake Village law firm that represented the workers, said, “We’re pleased with the resolution.” The terms of the settlement prevented him from saying much more.
In 2005, a federal judge approved a $4.75 million settlement for a lawsuit against the facility which claimed more than 1,000 employees were owed money for missed breaks and overtime. Nurses negotiating a contract with the hospital in September 2017 also argued staffing was so limited they couldn’t take breaks.
“We even have difficulty using the bathroom,” said union steward Jennifer Hardy.
The most recent settlement stems from litigation filed in 2014 by Jeanette Munden, a former Los Robles nurse who alleged her hourly pay was routinely rounded in a way that short-changed her paycheck. She said in court documents she was owed overtime and was frequently denied lunch and rest breaks while employed at the hospital. Munden resigned to accept another job in 2015 but was not paid required compensation owed to her.
“I routinely performed work for which I was not compensated,” she said in court documents. “I was routinely denied meal and rest breaks and/or received late or short meal periods in violation of California law.”
The former employee will be paid a $15,000 award for acting at the lead plaintiff in the case.
Another former Los Robles nurse, Susan Saltmarsh, opposed the settlement, saying it would bring her less than two percent of what Los Robles owes her. Her objection specifically stated, “This is less than 2 percent of what is owed to me. We should get 100 percent of what Los Robles stole from us.” She also alleged Los Robles refused to provide her with her employment records including past pay wage information. Saltmarsh felt Los Robles would interpret the settlement as a small price to continue “your very lucrative business model.”
Jason Kearnaghan, a Los Robles attorney, challenged Saltmarsh’s calculations regarding wages involving meal breaks and DeNoce ultimately noted Saltmarsh was the only employee covered by the settlement who filed an objection, adding the agreement was fair and reasonable.