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Anne Mancini Church v. St. Mary's Healthcare

September 25, 2012

ANNE MANCINI CHURCH, KENNETH VARRIALE, TINA BAGLEY & HOLLIE KING ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND ALL OTHER SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ST. MARY'S HEALTHCARE, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Norman A. Mordue, U.S. District Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiffs Anne Mancini Church, Kenneth Varriale, Tina Bagley, and Hollie King*fn1 bring this action against St. Mary's Healthcare ("St. Mary's"), defendant pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act, 28 U.S.C. § 201 et seq. ("FLSA"); New York Labor Law Article 6 § 190 et seq.; and New York Labor Law Article 19§ 650 et seq. Plaintiffs allege that defendant, their employer, did not include the time they spent working through breaks, which "often included work that should have been calculated at premium overtime rates" when calculating their pay, in violation of the FLSA and New York law. Defendant moves pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) to dismiss the amended complaint, Dkt. No. 20, on the ground that it fails to state a plausible claim for relief. Dkt. No. 26. Plaintiffs oppose defendant's motion and cross-move to file a second amended complaint. Dkt. No. 32.

II. THE AMENDED COMPLAINT

According to the amended complaint, St. Mary's Healthcare is a "domestic not-for-profit" organization with over 1,000 employees throughout its hospitals and facilities, which include a nursing home, an acute rehabilitation unit, seven offsite primary care centers, and behavioral health service facilities. Plaintiff Anne Mancini Church, a registered nurse, worked at St. Mary's from 1999 to 2004 and again from 2007 to June 2011. Plaintiff Kenneth Varriale, a registered nurse, worked at St. Mary's from April 2006 to August 2011. Plaintiff Tina Bagley, a registered nurse, worked at St. Mary's from 2007 to May 2009, and again, on a per diem basis, from 2010 to August 2011. Plaintiff Hollie King worked at St. Mary's in the positions of "unit coordinator" and "patient care technician" from September 2004 to June 2011. Plaintiffs were "nonexempt hourly wage earners" and were not members of a collective bargaining unit or labor organization.

The amended complaint alleges that defendant: failed "to keep accurate records of hours worked by its employees"; failed "to pay employees the applicable overtime rate for all time they worked in excess of forty hours per week"; and failed "to pay employees their agreed upon wages for all the hours worked", in violation of the FLSA and New York law.

According to the amended complaint, defendant's "Break Deduction Policy is an automatic payroll policy, practice and/or system which automatically makes deductions from" plaintiffs' pay. "Defendant automatically deducts 30 minutes each day from an employee's pay for a meal period using the Kronos computerized system even though employees are always

denied a meal period." Plaintiffs state that they "routinely perform compensable work for the time that is automatically deducted from the compensable time under the Break Deduction Policy." Plaintiffs allege that if their hours "had been properly calculated, the time spent working through the breaks often included work that should have been calculated at premium overtime rates". Plaintiffs further allege that defendant "knew and instructed plaintiffs not to record time worked during meal periods." Plaintiffs claim that defendant failed to "make, keep and preserve

adequate and accurate records" of plaintiffs' employment "concerning their wages, hours and other conditions of employment." Among other things, plaintiffs assert that defendant failed to disclose the hours they worked each work day, the total hours they worked each work week and the total amount of wages and overtime wages to which they were entitled each week.

More specifically, plaintiffs allege:

51. Defendant's nurse manager, Bob Quist ("Quist") was employed as the Head Nurse of the Emergency Department for approximately nine (9) years and his employment terminated in or about May 2010. As the Head Nurse he was responsible for staffing for the Emergency Department.

52. Quist, upon information and belief, verbally told Plaintiffs . . . that if they ate a meal, even while performing their job duties, that that counted as their meal period and instructed staff members not to document not receiving the meal period.

53. Upon information and belief, if employees did not eat they were also instructed not to document not receiving the meal period.

54. On many occasions, Quist sent emails . . . to Plaintiffs . . . instructing staff members not to document ...


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