Hygienist sues dentist over unpaid overtime

A dental hygienist in Texas is suing her former employer claiming she was not paid for overtime hours despite consistently working more than 40 hours a week, according to a story in the Southeast Texas Record.

Teri L. Burgoon filed her lawsuit against Norman J. Pomerance, DDS, of Denton, TX, on February 21 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.

Burgoon worked for Dr. Pomerance for more than four years as an hourly paid hygienist until January 2012, the complaint states. Burgoon claims that Dr. Pomerance violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by allowing her only to record and be paid for 36 hours per week, even though she consistently worked more than 40 hours per week, according to the story.

The FLSA was created in 1938 to eliminate low wages and long hours and to correct conditions that were detrimental to the health and well-being of workers. It limits to 40 a week "the number of hours that an employer may employ any of his employees subject to the Act, unless the employee receives compensation for this employment in excess of 40 hours at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate at which he is employed," the lawsuit states.

Burgoon claims Dr. Pomerance's policy was to pay her for nine hours per day (36 hours per week) and to not pay her overtime for the hours she worked in excess of 40 hours.

Burgoon is also alleging breach of contract. The plaintiff is asking for an award of damages for unpaid back wages, liquidated damages, court costs, attorney's fees, and interest.

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