Two nurses who worked at Hendricks Regional Health claim they were required to change into scrubs in locker rooms and travel to their work areas before they could punch in for their shifts, resulting in chronic underpayment.
Diana S. Jurgens and Meghan Schrock filed suit Aug. 1 against the Danville-based health system in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis.
The two nurses are seeking class-action status on behalf of hundreds of current and former hourly-paid employees that they claim were also underpaid.
According to the complaint, Hendricks requires all hourly-paid employees who wear scrubs to report to work early, travel to a locker room and change from street clothes into scrubs before the employee is allowed to clock in for work. All the changing time and the beginning and end of shifts is treated by Hendricks as unpaid time.
The nurses claim that the changing and travel time took 10 to 15 minutes on each shift, which added up to tens of thousands of unpaid hours for Hendricks’ hourly workforce, which the lawsuit estimates at about 1,500 employees.
The complaint alleges the practices violate the federal Fair Labor Stands Act and Indiana Wage Payment Statute.
“Hendricks has intentionally, knowingly, with reckless disregard and systematically violated its employees’ rights to earned wages through Hendricks’ illegal wage rules and practices,” the lawsuit said.
A Hendricks spokeswoman declined to comment to the Indianapolis Business Journal about the matter.
Jurgens and Schrock both worked as registered nurses in positions called operating room circulators.
In one two-week period in March 2021, Jurgens claims she was underpaid for at least two hours that she actually worked and, in one of her work weeks, she was unpaid overtime of one hour. Jurgens’ base hourly rate was $43.59 an hour, meaning she was owed as much as $261.54 in this single pay period, the complaint said.
Jurgens was terminated in January 2022 after a medical leave. Schrock, who made $38.75 an hour, resigned voluntarily in June 2022.
The complaint also alleges that Hendricks created a rule that hourly paid employees may not clock into work more than three minutes before the scheduled shift start time. Hendricks created an additional rule that employees would be punished if they clocked into work even one minute late.
The many rules resulted in a series of illegal time card rounding in Hendricks’ favor, the complaint says. The time it takes to travel to and from locker rooms, to and from work areas and time spent changing clothes took far more than three minutes and could not be completed in three minutes time, the lawsuit said.
“All of Hendricks’ rules for time clock usage and programming of its own time clock software are rigged to favor Hendricks and to cheat Hendricks’ hourly paid employees of compensable work hours,” the complaint said.
Jurgens and Schrock are asking for the court to award them “all unpaid, underpaid and/or illegally rounded wages,” as well as damages available under the Fair Labor Standards Act, attorney fees and costs.