A proposed class action claims that PepsiCo, Inc. and joint employer Bottling Group, LLC have failed to properly pay employees in the weeks following a data breach that crippled the companies’ timekeeping system.
The 14-page lawsuit says that on December 11, 2021, third-party payroll vendor UKG announced to customers, including PepsiCo, that its Kronos timekeeping system had become inoperative due to a ransomware attack. In the wake of the incident, the defendants failedtoaccuratelytrackemployees’ hours and instead resorted to estimating how much the workers should be paid for each pay period, the suit alleges.
Many workers, the case claims, have been underpaid as a result of PepsiCo’s failure to keep track of their time.
The suit alleges that the defendants have run afoul of federal and state labor laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), by failing to properly pay their employees.
According to the lawsuit, PepsiCo employees normally record their hours by swiping an electronic card on a Kronos device to clock in and out for each shift. On December 11, however, UKG informed PepsiCo and its other customers that the Kronos timekeeping system was down as the result of the ransomware incident, and that the outage would “potentially last several weeks,” the suit relays.
The case claims, however, that the Kronos system was inoperative for a roughly 10-week period, and that during the time PepsiCo failed to accurately track workers’ hours. The lawsuit says that the defendants failed to have in place a functional backup plan in the event that their timekeeping system stopped working.
According to the suit, PepsiCo paid its employees following the Kronos incident based on an estimated weekly pay. For many workers, the case says, these wages were less than they were actually owed for the hours they worked. The complaint adds in a footnote that PepsiCo’s alleged failure to pay proper wages was “especially harmful” given the outage period fell during the holiday season, when employees often work more hours than usual and have an “immediate need” for extra cash to cover holiday-related expenses.
The plaintiff, who worked for PepsiCo at its Allentown, Pennsylvania warehouse between May 2021 and March 2022, says that he and other PepsiCo workers still have not been paid correct wages for the hours they worked during the Kronos outage period.
The lawsuit looks to represent non-exempt hourly employees who worked for PepsiCo at any time since December 1, 2021, whose weekly hours were tracked by the Kronos timekeeping system, who were paid estimated wages during the Kronos outage period and whose estimated payments were less than the amount they earned over that time.
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