The Texas Workforce Commission on Nurses and Hospital Personnel

Employees in all U.S. states benefit from many different legal rights and protection, such as the anti-discrimination law, law on number of working hours per week, and wage and overtime pay. Though there may be some types of workers who are not covered by these protections, all employees are generally assured of minimum wage plus overtime pay for any extra number of hours of work rendered beyond the 40-hour work per week that is mandated by the law.

The federal law, which specifically gives directives and sets the standard for recordkeeping, child labor regulations, minimum wage and overtime pay, is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), also known as the Wages and Hours Bill, which the US Congress created in 1938 and which is presently controlled by WHD or Wage and Hour Division. It is intended to benefit all employees, whether part-time or full-time, in both private and public firms.

The Fair Labor Standards Act has components leading to civil or criminal offenses in the event of violation of any of its stipulations. Besides the criminal penalty and the huge fine for violation of the Act’s stipulation, compensation for damages suffered by an employee, which includes lawyer’s fees, is also significant.

Despite the law and the harsh penalties, many employers continue to carry out unfair labor practices, denying employees the minimum and/or overtime pay they deserve. Every minute worked deserves to be compensated, thus, any employer violation can lead to an offense which will merit for the employee all unpaid compensation.

According to the Leichter Law Firm, one sector which probably suffers most from wage and hour violations is medical, which is made up of nurses and other hospital personnel. Due to the type of work they perform, these health-care providers are often obliged to render additional hours of service after their regular shift. Though hospital work naturally requires this type of duty, and OT work and pay agreements are legally and clearly reached by both employees and their employers, still many medical workers do not get the compensation that they rightfully deserve.

The Texas Workforce Commission states that under a new Texas law that went into effect on September 1, 2009, mandatory overtime for RNs and LVNs is permissible only in disaster and other emergency situations . For purposes of this law, “mandatory overtime” is defined as work time above and beyond the normal pre-scheduled shifts (Section 258.002). Thus, while such a nurse can be required to work a schedule of 50 or more hours per week (with payment of overtime pay for any nurse who is non-exempt), they cannot be required to work beyond what they were told they would have to work, unless an emergency situation demands additional hours beyond the pre-scheduled shifts.

In the event of wage or overtime pay violation, nurses and hospital personnel have the right and the duty to bring their employers to justice. This is to ensure that unfair labor practice is put to an end, besides earning the compensation that they have been denied.



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