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Court Ruling Allows Class-Action Status in Baylor Scott & White Wage Dispute

The plaintiff's attorneys will now be able to send a notice to any employees who feel their wages have been shortchanged.
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The federal court in the Northern District of Texas has granted conditional certification to the plaintiffs against Baylor Scott & White Health, where they allege that their employer docked their pay unfairly. The certification will allow the plaintiff’s lawyers to send notice to all qualifying BSW employees to see if they would like to join the lawsuit with the original 18 plaintiffs. 

The plaintiffs are a group of advanced practitioners (i.e., nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant) who say that they were docked pay by BSW and HeathTexas Provider Network when they didn’t work 40 hours in a week, even though they were salaried employees who weren’t paid by the hour. When these employees worked more than 40 hours per week, they were not given overtime pay as one would receive if they were hourly employees. From the plaintiff’s perspective, the hospital system treated these employees like hourly workers only when it benefitted the system, and are seeking damages under the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

The 18 plaintiffs are seeking around 1.9 million in damages for lost salary over two to three years. They allege that if they are hourly employees, they should be able to charge for duties done at home, such as answering work emails and texts, finishing notes, or other work they did at home. The court’s ruling allows the case to have class-action status, meaning hundreds of BSW practitioners can be contacted and opt into the suit if they experienced similar deductions.

Plaintiffs come from a variety of BSW facilities, such as Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. Baylor Scott & White is the largest nonprofit health system in the state and one of the largest in the country. The original suit says that Baylor attempted to make corrective payments and said they were accounting mistakes. Plaintiffs claim the errors were not an accounting mistake but are part of the policy and practice for BSW. FLSA allows employers to make corrective payments for good-faith mistakes, not policy decisions, so plaintiffs argue that BSW’s payments are not viable.

Employees who met the qualifications and worked for the defendants after April 6, 2017, can opt into the lawsuit, the court filing says. 

Baylor Scott & White Health did not comment as the suit is ongoing.

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