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Challenges to wage and hour rights for traveling nurses

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2023 | Wage & Hour Law

Traveling nurses help fill a care gap in treatment centers and medical facilities across the state. In many cases, travel nurses hold contract positions through a third-party agency.

Although the agency is the listed employer, nurses fall under the administration of hospitals and facility leaders for job performance requirements and duties. This includes scheduling practices.

Prior concerns

There is already a concern among the nursing community over wage and hour violations, but a class action lawsuit brought against a travel agency in recent years highlights the need for clarification. According to court documents, a class of traveling nurses filed suit against their hiring travel agency on account of denied rest and meal breaks, unpaid overtime wages and compensation for a certain time frame. Even though the traveling agency responsible for assigning the nurses settled the case, one of the nurses took further action against the hospital that violated her rights. However, the agency that settled tried to intervene based on the release signed by the plaintiff for the other lawsuit.

Court involvement

A trial court determined that there was no release for the hospital through the previous settlement and allowed the case to continue to litigation. The staffing agency and the hospital appealed the decision, but the California Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s decision. The California Supreme Court agreed to hear the matter. The challenge falls with which organization maintains liability for legally upholding the nurses’ rights.

If you are a traveling nurse, you may run into a similar problem. The state courts are aware that this is an issue to resolve.