Kaiser Will Not Pay Overtime, Class Claims

     OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – Kaiser is taking advantage of exempt status employees to save money and stay competitive in the healthcare industry, the employees claim in an Alameda County Superior Court complaint.
     Lead plaintiff Jocelyn Kaye has worked for Kaiser since 2009, first as a Disability Program Administrator, and most recently as an Operations Specialist.
     Kaye, who is still employed by Kaiser, alleges the company lists salaried employees as exempt from overtime pay, but burdens them with large work loads.
     “During her employment with defendant, plaintiff, as an Operations Specialist, performs non-exempt job tasks, but is nevertheless classified by defendant as exempt from overtime pay and works from time to time more than eight hours in a workday and in excess of 40 hours in a workweek,” the complaint states.
     Kaiser’s intent is to save money by not hiring new employees, according to the complaint.
     “To successfully compete against the other health care service providers, Kaiser substantially reduced its labor costs by placing the burden of overtime work on a smaller number of salaried employees that Kaiser classified as exempt from overtime wages and other related benefits,” the complaint states.
     Kaye says the practice is not just a scheme, but a “company-wide” policy.
     “As a matter of company policy, practice and procedure, Kaiser unlawfully, unfairly and/or deceptively classified every Operations Specialist as exempt based on job title alone, failed to pay the required overtime compensation and otherwise failed to comply with all labor laws with respect to these Operations Specialists,” the complaint states.
     Kaiser, Kaye says, has violated the California Unfair Competition Law by requiring employees to work beyond the eight-hour workday and the 40-hour workweek.
     She is also suing for violations under the California Business and Professions Code and the California Labor Code. Kaye wants the court to order Kaiser to pay all wages due to the plaintiffs, as well as disgorgement and restitution. She also seeks compensatory and actual damages.
     Norman B. Blumenthal, Kyle R. Nordrehaug and Aparajit Bhowmik, in La Jolla, Calif. represent the class.

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