Healthcare Employers Dominate "Who’s Hiring" List in Colorado

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment recently posted the top ten employers with the most online help-wanted ads in August to fill positions in the state, with healthcare employers dominating the list. Those on the list included Centura Health, Vail Resorts, University of Colorado, Health One, Sears, Banner Health, Robert Half International, Exempla Healthcare, Hospital Corporation of America, and Macy’s, respectively. The list indicates that the healthcare industry continually is looking for employees, even in a rocky economy. So why does the healthcare industry have such a need for more employees? Is it due to the fact the healthcare industry is ever-growing or perhaps the field produces a high turn-over rate? Could it be that hospitals still need employees in a poor economy, or do they simply advertise more effectively than other fields? It’s important to recognize that healthcare workers and those working through staffing agencies are frequent victims of Colorado overtime pay wage theft. These cases usually appear as pay schemes that pay hourly straight time for all hours (including those over 40 per week) or pay a set “shift rate” with no premium for overtime hours, even though the workers are not exempt under federal or Colorado labor laws on overtime. Colorado’s overtime labor laws are more favorable to workers than federal law. Under Colorado state wage law, employers are required to pay each non-exempt employee an overtime wage of one-and-a-half times the employee’s regular hourly rate for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in one workweek, 12 hours in one workday, or 12 consecutive hours, regardless of whether the work period overlaps into a second day.  Under federal law, there are no daily overtime requirements – employers are only required to pay overtime for hours over 40 per week. Overtime for medical professionals can become a little more complicated compared to the average non-exempt worker, as many hospitals and medical facilities are using mandatory overtime to staff their facilities. However, these long shifts and sleep deprivation may prevent nurses from providing their patients with quality, error-free care. Although the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not cover this dangerous practice, there are currently sixteen states that regulate or restrict mandatory overtime for those in the nursing field. Colorado is not one of them, resulting in an increasing  nursing shortage by driving nurses out of the profession due to job dissatisfaction or loss of license because of the increased risk of medical errors, as well as an increase of Colorado overtime pay theft. If you’re a healthcare professional (or any type of non-exempt employee) in Colorado, it’s important to ensure you’re receiving the overtime pay you deserve. If you think you may be a victim of wage theft, it’s important to contact an experienced attorney to get the overtime pay that is rightfully yours.  Since most wage and hour attorneys work on a contingent fees basis, it shouldn’t cost you anything to find out if you may be owed $1,000s in unpaid overtime wages.

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