No lunch leads to lawsuit

Ex-employee of long-term care company files class action alleging unpaid wages

A local long-term care provider is facing a lawsuit from one of its former employees over lunch break policies.

According to the complaint filed by Doris Lynn Hoak, Diversicare Management employed “a time and attendance system that automatically deducted 30 minutes from employee’s pay for their meal breaks, regardless of whether they actually were able to take an uninterrupted meal break.”

Hoak worked at Diversicare’s Smyrna facility for seven years before leaving the company — a division of publicly traded Advocat Inc. — in March of this year.  During her tenure, Hoak claims that she was often required to work through meal times, as well as before and after her shifts ended, without properly being compensated.

“Due to the demands of the workplace and poor training on the part of Defendant, Plaintiff and other similarly situated employees were frequently unable to take their full meal break,” the suit states. “Indeed, there were occasions where Plaintiff and other employees were unable to take any meal break at all.”

Filing the lawsuit on behalf of Hoak are Martin L. Russell and Clinton H. Scott, both of Gilbert Russell McWherter. (The firm in late 2009 filed similar suits against Williamson Medical Center and Summit Medical Center.) They are filing under the Fair Labor Standards Act and are seeking class-action status for the complaint.

A call to Diversicare had not been returned at the time of publication. will update the story with any statement, should it be offered.