For Immediate Release - December 20, 2012

Lowell Hospital to Pay More Than $283,000 to Settle Claims it Violated State Meal Break Laws

Hospital Allegedly Made Improper Deductions and Alterations to Working Hours

BOSTON - A Lowell area hospital will pay more than $283,000 in restitution and penalties to resolve allegations it failed to comply with the state’s meal break laws and made alterations to working hours, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today. 

“Our investigation revealed that the hospital made improper deductions for meal breaks that were not taken and failed to pay for all hours worked,” AG Coakley said. 

The Attorney General’s Office received a complaint in June 2011 from an ICU nurse at Saints Medical Center, Inc. (Saints Medical) alleging that deductions were being made for meal breaks not taken and for time worked beyond scheduled shifts. The violations occurred prior to the asset purchase of Saint’s Medical by Lowell General Hospital (Lowell General) in July 2012.

Lowell General fully cooperated with the AG’s investigation and has implemented managerial and procedural changes to address the record-keeping problems in the ICU unit. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the hospital will pay restitution to 52 employees and former employees as well as a penalty to the Commonwealth.

The Attorney General’s Office is responsible for enforcing the laws regulating the payment of wages, overtime and misclassification of employees in the Commonwealth. Workers who believe they have not been paid all their wages, including earned vacation pay wages, are strongly urged to call the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465. More information about the wage and hour laws is also available in multiple languages at the Attorney General’s Workplace Rights website: www.massworkrights.com

The matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Lisa Price, and was investigated by Inspector Nora Saint-Martin, both of AG Coakley’s Fair Labor Division.

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