In Cincinnati News: August 21, 2015

St. Francis Xavier Church, Sycamore Street, crowded by Cincinnati skyline. Photo: Mike Brown, C4AD.

Local workers seeking to recover unpaid wages was the topic of several stories covered in the Cincinnati press over the last several weeks. This post offers a brief recap and links to the stories.

Not Paid for Unscheduled Work, Say VA Nurses

Audricia Brooks, a nurse at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center, claims in a class action lawsuit that she and other VA nurses were required to work extra hours to perform patient care duties for which they were not paid. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, in an August 17 story by reporter Rebecca Butts, 33 nurses from VA medical centers across the country have joined the suit asking for backpay with interest. That number could grow. The article notes the Department of Veterans Affairs employs more than 80,000 nurses and is the largest employer of nurses in the country.

In December 2012, the Cincinnati firm of Cook and Logothetis filed the suit on behalf of the VA nurses in the Court of Federal Claims. In February 2014, the court dismissed the case saying the nurses’ overtime was not compensable because it was not “officially ordered or approved” by express direction of the VA. The nurses appealed. In May 2015, the Court of Appeals, in a 22-page decision, overturned the decision of the Federal Claims courts saying that by law the agency could have ordered or approved the overtime through “expectation, requirement, and inducement.” Litigation in the Federal Claims court has now resumed using the revised interpretation of compensable overtime, according to Clement Tsao with Cook and Logothetis.

Wage Dispute at Clifton’s Esquire Theater

A wage dispute at the Esquire Theater in Clifton sparked a rally on August 7 organized by the Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center to support two managers, who claim they were not paid their last paycheck after they were terminated, according to a story in the Cincinnati Business Courier by reporter Chris Wetterich. The August 19 article reports that an agreement was expected.

Employees Say Toby Keith’s Stiffed Them of Last Paycheck

Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill at the Banks in Downtown Cincinnati lit up the local press with stories about unpaid contractors, back rent, delinquent taxes, personal injury suits, and unpaid wages. See the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Business Courier, and WCPO.

The Cincinnati Toby Keith’s restaurant, according to a class action lawsuit filed August 12 by the Cincinnati firm of Minnillo & Jenkins, closed without notice on July 16, two days after the MLB All-Star Week events. The suit alleges that the restaurant fraudulently induced employees to work the last pay period, knowing they would not be paid.

Supervisors Claim Horseshoe Casino Owes Them Back Wages

More than 100 past and present employees at Cincinnati’s Horseshoe casino say the company owes them back wages, the Enquirer reported on August 7. The allegations are set out in a lawsuit filed in August 2014 by Cook and Logothetis, which claims floor supervisors are paid a salary based on a 40-hour work week but are scheduled to work a minimum of 45 hours per week and typically work 46 to 52 hours a week. While no dollar amount is specified, the Enquirer reports that backwage claims could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.