Nurses in the hospice division of Penn Medicine claim that their employer has violated two Pennsylvania laws with its failure to pay them overtime.

Credit: Faatima Qureshi

A group of registered nurses employed by the hospice division of the University of Pennsylvania Health System are engaged in a lawsuit that may become a class action suit.

According to a report by Law360, a legal news service subsidiary of LexisNexis, a cohort of nurses employed in Penn Medicine’s hospice division claim that they have not received pay for overtime work. Penn Medicine and the Board of Trustees are also involved in the suit.

Class action suits, which group together plaintiffs in a large single case to avoid several individual cases, pursue redress in an economical fashion.

Former registered nurse case manager at the Penn Wissahickon Hospice and named plaintiff Lesley Sayell claimed in a complaint filed on July 8,  that she worked more than 40 hours per week during her time of employment at the hospice —  but did not receive overtime pay for her labor.

This alleged failed compensation violates the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act and the Wage Payment and Collection Law which require Penn Wissahickon Hospice to pay her one and a half times her regular rate for overtime work.

The complaint states that “Defendant Penn Wissahickon Hospice’s unlawful practices, in violation of the PMWA and the WPCL, include its failure to pay the plaintiff class overtime of not less than one and one half times the employees/plaintiff class’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek.”

According to the complaint, Sayell began working as a registered nurse case manager in September 2011. Throughout her employment, she worked overtime — over 40 hours a week. These hours are documented on time cards, other records and pay statements.

The proposed class of workers encompasses any registered nurse case managers who are currently working for Penn Wissahickon Hospice in Pennsylvania as well as those who worked for the Hospice for three years prior to the filing of suit. In the complaint, Sayell approximates that the proposed class will be greater than 82 individuals.

The plaintiffs are represented by Thomas More Holland of the Law Offices of Thomas More Holland.

The complaint states that “without a class action [lawsuit], defendant Penn Wissahickon Hospice will likely retain the benefit of its wrongdoing and will continue a course of action which will result in further damages to the plaintiff class.”

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