Parth v. Pomona Valley Hosp., 2010 WL 5064380 (9th Cir. 2010)

The Fair Labor Standards Act required Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (“PVHMC”) to pay its employees 1-1/2 times the employees’ regular rate for any employment in excess of eight hours in any workday and in excess of 80 hours in a 14-day period. However, many of PVHMC’s nurses preferred working 12-hour shifts in order to have more days away from the hospital. In response to the nurses’ requests to work 12-hour shifts, PVHMC developed and implemented an optional 12-hour shift schedule that lowered the base hourly salary so that nurses who worked overtime (in excess of eight hours in a day) would end up making approximately the same amount of money as they would make working an eight-hour shift (i.e., without any overtime). In this putative class action, Louise Parth alleged that PVHMC’s use of different base hourly rates violated the FLSA. Although the district court found that Parth met the requirements for conditional class certification to bring the FLSA claim, the court granted the hospital’s motion for summary judgment. The Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that “Parth failed to adduce any evidence or authority to support her claim that PVHMC’s pay plan violates the FLSA. We conclude that PVHMC was justified in responding to its employees’ requests for an alternative work schedule by adopting the sought-after schedule and paying the employees the same wages they received under the less-desirable schedule.” See also Gordon v. City of Oakland, 2010 WL 4673695 (9th Cir. 2010) (city employer did not violate FLSA by withholding from police officer’s vacation accrual and compensatory time off, sums necessary to partially repay city for training costs owed due to officer’s resignation after only two years on the job).