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Riverside County Registered Nurses File a Lawsuit to Stop County's Violation of Federal Law

RNs, members of SEIU 721, Ask for an Injunction in Federal Court to Reclaim Overtime Pay

RIVERSIDE, Calif., Dec. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Registered nurses for Riverside County, including the Riverside County Regional Medical Center, filed a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) class-action lawsuit in federal court Monday to stop the county from violating federal law governing hourly wages.

Three nurses, who are seeking to represent all 867 registered nurse members of SEIU 721, filed the claim after repeatedly meeting with county officials, including members of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, about its violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act to no avail.

"Right now tax payers' money is being thrown away by training new RNs who leave the county for facilities with better compensation and fair policies," said Lisa Terrell, a registered nurse at RCRMC. "To retain qualified staff we need fair overtime policies and hourly wages and benefits that compete with neighboring facilities. Without us Riverside County wouldn't be able to provide good care to our patients and train new nurses."

County nurses are seeking monetary relief for lost wages over the last three years and an injunction to stop the violation of federal law. The county has said nurses are exempt from the 1938 law, but has provided no documentation and nurses elsewhere throughout the state and country are routinely not exempt from receiving overtime pay for overtime work. Nurses have been denied overtime payment for work more than 80 hours and less than 85 hours per two week period, which amounts to hundreds of dollars a year for each affected nurse. Nurses must opt-in to the class action in order to be eligible.

"It's critical Riverside County have the best and the brightest nurses staffing our county hospital and other facilities, but the county's actions send a strong message that they want to provide care on the cheap even if it means violating federal law," said Bob Schoonover, vice president of SEIU 721.

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