Press Release

St. Joseph’s Hospital of Orange RNs Win Major Settlement

Press Conference Wednesday

The California Nurses Association will be holding a press conference, Wednesday, January 11 at 11:00 a.m., to discuss a recent lawsuit victory for registered nurses at St. Joseph’s Hospital of Orange. The lawsuit stems from the hospital’s attempts to circumvent paying RNs the overtime wages they were lawfully entitled to from December 2001 through June 2009.  Awards to the 2,717 plaintiffs have started to be received this month.  

What:    St. Joseph’s Hospital of Orange RN press conference about overtime lawsuit victory

Attorney Joseph Antonelli, will discuss the overtime subterfuge case and the recovery of $12 million in lost overtime wages.

Mary “Vangee” Oberschlake, RN, St. Joseph’s Hospital of Orange, plaintiff, will explain the reasons the RNs brought this issue forward and what she plans to do with her portion of the award.

When:   Wednesday, January 11, 11:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Where:   Intersection of W. Stewart Dr. and Bush St., adjacent to St. Joseph’s Hospital of Orange, Orange, CA, 92868

Shortly after a new overtime law went into effect in 2000 guaranteeing time-and-one-half wages for all time worked after eight hours in a workday, the California Hospital Association, (the lobbying arm of the hospital industry), urged all hospitals to lower their base pay by 15 percent to offset the new law. St. Joseph’s Hospital of Orange was one of the facilities that enacted this practice and was ordered to pay $12 million in a class action lawsuit to the affected nurses for doing so.

“It is sad that it had to come to this, but we’re pleased with the outcome,” said Lilia Benitez, RN who formerly worked in the intensive care unit at the facility.  “As nurses, we’re always willing to go the extra mile for our patients. Sometimes this means we need to work overtime to do so. We only asked that we be compensated for our overtime as the law requires.”

One of the named plaintiffs, Mary Oberschlake, plans to donate a significant amount of her award to the California Nurses Foundation, to create a scholarship program for Orange County RNs. “For me, this was about much more than just money,” said Oberschlake. “It’s about upholding the law, protecting employee rights, and working to provide scholarship opportunities for nursing students  in need from our community.”