Madison - St. Clair Record

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

St. Elizabeth's Hospital allegedly deducted pay for breaks employee never took


By John Breslin | Jan 2, 2020

St elizabeths hospital
St. Elizabeth's Hospital | Belleville Historical Society

BELLEVILLE - A hospital allegedly deducted pay over the course of five years for a 30-minute break an employee never was allowed to take, according to a lawsuit.

Shalynn Hoagland, employed as a medical laboratory technician until October 2019, claims violations of Illinois' Wage Payment and Collection Act. Hoagland filed suit Dec. 16 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against St. Elizabeth's Hospital of the Hospital Sisters of the Third Order in Belleville. She seeks more than $50,000 in damages for an alleged loss of wages from the time she was first employed by the facility in 2014.

"Because this is pending litigation, the hospital cannot comment," Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS), the parent organization of the nonprofit hospital, told the Record.

According to the lawsuit, the defendant, St. Elizabeth's Hospital, agreed that Hoagland would receive a 30-minute unpaid lunch break and a 15-minute paid break during each shift. Allegedly, the hospital deducted 30 minutes from Hoagland's pay without providing the lunch break.

"In addition, plaintiff (Hoagland) was required to work straight through her shift without getting her 15-minute paid break," the lawsuit states.

The hospital's alleged actions are violations of Illinois' Wage Payment and Collection Act, which led to Hoagland's alleged suffering of damages because she was not able to take any lunch break or only a fraction of the time agreed. The defendant is further accused of forcing Hoagland to work through the paid break.

"The issues involved in this litigation are likely to involve considerable attorney time and expense," the lawsuit states. "As such, the damages sustained by the plaintiff coupled with the attorney's fees and cost of litigation are likely to exceed $50,000 in the event the case is tried before the court."

The plaintiff is represented by John H. Leskera of the Leskera Law Firm in Collinsville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 2019-L-904.

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