Fresno & Tulare Counties Facing Jailhouse Lawsuit that Could Cost Millions

by Norman B. Blumenthal on August 16, 2017

A couple of Valley counties (Fresno and Tulare) are facing a jailhouse lawsuit that could end up costing them millions. According to registered nurses involved in the case, Corizon Health, heath care contractor, is breaking state employment law. Corizon Health took over as the Fresno County jail health care provider in 2014. They provide the same service in Tulare County.

In fact, a new suit against the health care contractor alleges that they are not only cheating registered nurses out of overtime pay, but they are doing so intentionally. Three dozen nurses working out of the Fresno County jail tend to the medical needs of the inmates. Some of them claim that they have been “ripped off” for years, but not by any of the inmates.

The plaintiffs’ attorney went on record stating that the registered nurses had been working far beyond the eight hours legally defined as being a “full work day.” They also stated that the nurses had not been receiving overtime as is required by California state law. The complaint against Corizon Health filed by Richtel could become a class action lawsuit. The suit claims that the RNs are forced to work 12-hour shifts, 3 days a week, without overtime pay. These are serious allegations as state law states that anything over eight in one day should be treated as overtime hours, with some exceptions. One exception is if two-thirds of the workers choose to utilize an alternative workweek. Yet public record indicates that Corizon held an election regarding the matter in 2014 and the RNs involved in the case actually rejected 12-hour workdays.

The RNs are still working 12-hour days with no overtime pay three years later. Job postings for open positions at Corizon in Fresno and Tulare County even describe job duties as including 12-hour shifts. Blatant disregard for both the will of their employees and the state law applicable to the employees regarding overtime pay may have left these two counties facing hefty costs.

The counties mentioned have not officially been named as Defendants in the case. But they also indicated they defend themselves vigorously against frivolous lawsuits when asked about the case.

If you have questions regarding overtime or how overtime requirements apply in your workplace, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.

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