- A former West Virginia University Medical employee has filed a class and collective action alleging that the health system failed to pay employees for hours worked, including overtime hours, during a recent outage affecting payroll vendor Kronos (Ware v. West Virginia University Medical Corp., No. 1:22-cv-00054 (N.D. W.Va. July 11, 2022)).
- Per the suit, WVU Medical responded to the outage in part by instructing employees to record their actual hours worked manually so that the employer could issue pay corrections later. But the suit alleged that WVU Medical “chose not to use those records,” instead paying employees based on the pay they received for the pay period preceding the outage.
- As a result, the former employee alleged that hourly workers were not paid for all hours worked nor paid the proper overtime premium after the outage. Furthermore, while WVU Medical paid employees after it received the hours entered manually, this resulted in late or insufficient payments in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and applicable state laws, the suit alleged. A spokesperson for West Virginia University Medicine told HR Dive that the institution does not comment on ongoing litigation.
In December 2021, a ransomware incident forced HR vendor UKG to take several of its Kronos-branded timekeeping and payroll systems offline. The move sent some HR teams scrambling during the lead up to a busy holiday season.
In a previous interview, an executive of UMass Memorial Health told HR Dive that the organization first learned of the outage on a Sunday. More than a month passed by before UMass was able to restore its Kronos timekeeping system. In the meantime, it asked employees to record their clock-in and clock-out times manually as often as possible.
Service was restored in January, but impacted employers have since had to focus on resolutions. A June 22 blog post by SHARE, a labor union representing UMass Memorial employees, stated that UMass had resolved roughly three-quarters of 25,000 reported discrepancies at a pace of 500 to 750 discrepancies per week.
Though a source who previously spoke to HR Dive described the Kronos outage as an “unparalleled” event in the space, most UKG customers told HR Dive in interviews that they planned to keep the vendor moving forward.
But the WVU suit is one of several legal actions filed by workers in response to the outage. In February, New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority alleged in a putative collective action that the agency improperly withheld overtime pay during the outage. Other workers have taken legal action against UKG itself. In June, a MaineHealth employee filed a class-action complaint seeking compensation for compensatory and general damages resulting from the outage, among other claims.