Diane Pizzi, a former clerk at Sansum Medical Clinic, filed a lawsuit alleging one of her supervisors at the clinic’s Pesetas Lane campus manually falsified her time cards, effectively denying her compensation for overtime work. Pizzi’s attorney, Bruce Anticouni, estimated this “systematic scheme of wage abuse” cost his client about $2,700. He also estimated as many as 500 other Sansum employees could have been similarly denied full compensation and is seeking to pursue a class action lawsuit against the largest medical provider on the South Coast.
According to the lawsuit, Pizzi worked for Sansum from 2006 until November 23, 2015, when she left her duties of scheduling appointments for the endocrinology department. Pizzi, Anticouni said, left in good standing and routinely received positive performance evaluations. Anticouni said his client typically worked 36 hours a week, eight hours for four days and four hours on Fridays. Under state law, employees are eligible for time-and-a-half overtime pay if they work more than eight hours a day and more than 40 hours a week. When Pizzi worked more than eight hours a day, Anticouni charged, one of her supervisors responsible for submitting time cards routinely allotted the amount of overtime she’d worked to the closest Friday. On the books, it would appear Pizzi never worked more than eight hours on any given day, he claimed.
In addition, Anticouni charged, the books were cooked to conceal the times Pizzi worked longer than five hours without being given a half-hour lunch break. Under state law, workers are entitled to an hour’s compensation if they work ten minutes or more past the five-hour mark.
Anticouni said Pizzi often printed out the hours she claimed as well as the overtime she believed she was due. Those numbers, Anticouni said, were consistently not reflected in her paychecks. One supervisor in particular, he charged, was “notorious” for making such changes. For the most part, he added, Sansum enjoys a reputation for adhering to the letter of the law where overtime is concerned. Jill Fonte, spokesperson for Sansum, declined to comment on the allegations before reviewing the legal papers, stating only, “I can assure you that we do take paying overtime and appropriate wages very seriously.”