Cerner Faces Another Lawsuit Over Its Overtime Policy
This story was updated at 3:20 p.m.
Another class-action lawsuit alleging Cerner illegally failed to pay employees overtime wages has been filed against the health care technology company.
The latest was filed in federal court in Kansas City on behalf of so-called AMS delivery consultants at Cerner, basically help desk workers who offer technical support and troubleshooting assistance.
The lawsuit says they were expected to work at least 48 hours a week but were not paid overtime. The suit, which was filed by Jonathan Taylor, seeks unspecified damages under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Missouri’s overtime law.
A Cerner representative said the company does not comment on pending litigation. But Cerner has argued elsewhere that the workers in question are “computer professionals” or “administrative employees” who are exempt from overtime requirements under FLSA.
Eric Dirks, an attorney for Taylor, said the class of affected workers in the case probably numbers in the hundreds.
“There are multiple different job titles which we believe have been misclassified,” Dirks said. “This is just yet another one of the job titles and organizations that we believe is misclassified.”
Dirks along with attorneys from other firms have filed at least two other pending overtime lawsuits against Cerner. One, in Jackson County, was filed on behalf of workers who configure user settings for Cerner’s hospital and other customers. The other, in Cass County, was filed on behalf of employees who train customers to use Cerner’s software.
A fourth case over Cerner’s overtime policy is pending in federal court in Kansas City. That lawsuit alleges Cerner pays its nonexempt employees – workers who must be paid overtime for any hours worked beyond 40 a week – a full pay period late and fails to include all additional compensation in their regular rate of pay.
In March, U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan Jr. agreed to let the case move ahead as a “collective” action under the Fair Labor Standards Act, finding that the workers were “similarly situated.” A collective action is similar to a class action, except that plaintiffs must actively opt in to the class. Up to 850 Cerner employees may be eligible to opt in.
Gaitan’s ruling came just a few months after Cerner asked its nearly 17,000 workers in the United States to submit labor disputes to arbitration rather than sue it in court. Workers who didn’t agree are not eligible for performance-based raises. Most of the company’s employees signed the agreement.
Dan Margolies, editor of the Heartland Health Monitor team, is based at KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.