Wexford Health Failed to Properly Pay Workers Following Kronos Data Breach, Lawsuit Alleges
by Erin Shaak
Surles v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc.
Filed: September 26, 2022 ◆§ 2:22-cv-01376
A lawsuit claims Wexford Health Sources failed to pay workers proper wages in the wake of a data breach that crippled its timekeeping and payroll system.
A proposed collective action claims Wexford Health Sources, Inc. failed to pay workers proper wages in the wake of a data breach that crippled its timekeeping and payroll system in late 2021.
According to the 15-page suit, a ransomware attack on the Kronos timekeeping system on December 11, 2021 left Wexford, a healthcare company who contracts with government entities, unable to use the platform to track its workers’ hours and pay them accordingly. Although there were a number of ways that Wexford could have accurately recorded employees’ hours following the breach, the defendant instead “decided to arbitrarily pay these employees” based on prior pay periods or reduced payroll estimates, the lawsuit alleges.
Per the case, Wexford’s failure to pay workers proper wages, including for overtime hours, benefited the company at the expense of its workers, “who rely on the full and timely payment of their wages to make ends meet.”
“Put another way, Wexford Health pushed the effects of the Kronos hack onto the backs of its most economically vulnerable workers, ensuring that it kept wages and overtime premiums owed to those employees in its own pockets, rather than take steps to make sure its employees were paid on time and in full for the work said employees performed.”
According to the suit, Wexford sent employees a letter around December 27 of last year that stated the company planned to pay them at 75 percent of their standard rate “until further notice” as a result of the Kronos hack. Wexford also informed workers that they would not be paid overtime, premiums or bonuses until the timekeeping system “is completely functional,” the case relays.
The lawsuit alleges that once the payroll system was back online, Wexford retroactively altered employees’ paystubs, which, according to the case, “ma[de] it very difficult for the employees who had been paid at 75% their standard pay to use their pay stubs as a resource to help ensure Wexford Health did or does eventually pay them what was owed and make them whole.”
The plaintiff, a phlebotomist and office worker who performed work for Wexford at a correctional facility near Elmore, Alabama, claims that as a result of the defendants’ pay practices, she and similarly situated employees worked overtime hours for which they were not properly paid.
“Wexford Health owes [the plaintiff] and the Putative Class Members the difference between the rate actually paid for overtime, if any, and the proper overtime rate,” the complaint alleges, noting that the Fair Labor Standards Act requires overtime to be paid at one-and-a-half times the worker’s regular hourly wage.
The suit looks to represent non-exempt employees who worked for or on behalf of Wexford Health in the United States at any time since the onset of the Kronos ransomware attack around December 11, 2021 to the present.
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