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$5.5 million settlement reached in nurse lawsuit

July 20, 2021 GMT

BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) — A class-action lawsuit brought by thousands of nurses who said they weren’t properly paid for lunch and other breaks has settled with Kitsap County’s main health care system, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.

Under the $5.5 million settlement, nurses will receive an average payment of $510, their attorneys said. The actual amounts depend on wages and other factors, the Kitsap Sun reported.

The case filed by a nurse at the former Harrison Medical Center included more than 7,000 employees of Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. The lawsuit, filed in 2019, accused the health care system of violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and state law.

The suit claimed nurses who worked shifts of 12 hours or more, “experience significant amounts of pre- and post-shift off-the-clock work, including unpaid, on-duty time preparing for their days before clocking in as well as completing charting and patient paperwork after clocking out.”

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Virginia Mason Franciscan spokesperson Cary Evans said they’re committed to the fair compensation of its employees.

“We strongly deny that we have violated any wage and hour laws,” he said. “However, we believe the best use of our resources is to move forward and focus on providing top-quality patient care, rather than further extending a costly and time-consuming legal case.”