A proposed collective action claims the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York City Transit Authority and Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority have failed to pay certain employees any overtime wages since their payroll administrator was crippled by a December 2021 data breach.
The nine-page lawsuit alleges that although the defendants have at their disposal several options with which to maintain proper pay practices while Kronos, their third-party payroll administrator, remains unable to provide services, the New York public transportation providers have instead chosen to “arbitrarily withhold” employees’ overtime wages.
The plaintiff, a staff analyst for the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority, claims to be owed at least 40 hours of unpaid overtime dating back to December 11, 2021. Per the complaint, the defendants’ failure to pay overtime wages amounts to a violation of federal law and came at an especially inopportune time.
“Defendants’ decision to withhold overtime pay for an unknown period of time from essential transit workers during the peak December holiday season and at the height of another COVID-19 surge was willful and in total disregard for the law,” the complaint charges.
The lawsuit states that Kronos, who provides time-keeping and payroll services to the defendants for their staff analyst and computer specialist units, notified customers on December 11 that it had been the victim of a ransomware attack and would be unable to provide services “for an extended and unknown length of time.” The case claims the defendants could have responded to the situation in a number of ways, including by maintaining prior payroll practices; utilizing their already functional Business Services Center, through which employees in other units are paid; or retaining the services of a different third-party payroll administrator.
Instead, the suit says, the defendants instructed their Business Services Center, who already maintains payroll information for the companies’ operations, to issue paychecks for affected employees’ straight time hours but withhold the workers’ time-and-a-half overtime pay. According to the case, the employees have yet to be paid for their overtime hours and have been given no timeframe as to when they will receive their wages.
The plaintiff looks to represent similarly situated employees who work or have worked in non-exempt staff analyst and computer analyst positions for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York City Transit Authority or Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority between December 11, 2021 and the date of judgment in the case, and did not receive overtime wages on their regularly scheduled payday for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
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