A second nurse has joined a labor suit filed in federal court against Delta County Memorial Hospital District.

Melissa Bland, who worked as a registered nurse at the hospital from 2007 to May of this year, on Nov. 26 signed a consent form to join collective action in the suit, whose lead plaintiff is Krystal Gray, a former licensed professional nurse at the hospital.

Gray also signed a consent to join a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

In her Oct. 15 complaint, Gray alleged nurses and other hospital staff were made to work during breaks for which they had clocked out and that hourly employees were not correctly compensated for off-the-clock work.

Gray alleges she was only paid for 40 hours of work, although she routinely worked 45 - 50 hours and was “actively discouraged” from claiming time outside of her regular hours. She further alleges the hospital district did not pay what she was owed when her employment there ended.

The suit also raises issues with the hospital’s meals policy. Prior to March 2017, employees automatically had 30 minutes deducted from their time for meal periods, the suit alleges. In March, the policy shifted to one that required them to clock out, yet they were still being called to work during unpaid breaks, and that means the hospital district was not providing a meal period as required by federal rules, Gray also alleges.

She seeks unpaid wages, penalty wages and attorneys’ fees and costs.

The Delta County Memorial Hospital District sought and received an extension of the deadline for filing a response. That response is now due Dec. 16.

Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.

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