Hospitals Fined $5-million For Break Violations

posted by Brad Ford - 

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Legacy Meridian Park Hospital, Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center and Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center has each received separate Notices of Intent to Assess Civil Penalties from the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) the agency announced today that could total $5,156,000 in civil penalties for allegations of 5,156 meal and rest period violations in aggregate. These documents are the findings of BOLI’s Wage and Hour Division investigations and will become final on September 25th unless a contested case hearing is requested by the respondent(s) within that time. 

$5,156,000 represents the largest potential assessment of civil penalties in the agency’s history. BOLI assessed $276,690 in civil penalties against Legacy Emanuel in November of 2017 for meal and rest period violations, which Legacy did not contest and paid in full. 

During 2017 investigations, wage and hour compliance specialists found willful failure to provide appropriate meal periods on 2,226 occasions by Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center, including the 5W Labor and Delivery Department. Additionally, 1,391 willful failures to provide appropriate meal periods were found at Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center, and an additional 1,267 at Legacy Meridian Park Hospital.  In addition, the Wage and Hour Division found the respondent willfully failed to provide appropriate rest periods to 272 employees during investigations at all three hospitals combined. 

BOLI is assessing $1,000 per violation, the maximum penalty, alleging that the violations were willful because management knew or should have known about meal and rest period requirements and failed to comply with the law. BOLI initiated a series of investigations after receiving multiple employee complaints against the hospital system.  

Under Oregon law, employers must provide one 30-minute unpaid meal break to anyone working a shift of six hours or more. Businesses must also provide two paid 10-minute rest breaks in an eight-hour shift and three such breaks in any shift longer than 10 hours. 

Employees with wage and hour claims or complaints may contact the Wage and Hour Division at (971) 673-0844 or via email at whdemail@boli.state.or.us. Employers seeking compliance guidance may contact the agency’s Technical Assistance for Employers hotline at (971) 673-0824. 

Source: Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries

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