RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A new lawsuit by Kroger employees across Virginia accuses the company of ignoring widespread wage theft stemming from faulty software.
The suit, which includes workers from Virginia and West Virginia, was filed in Richmond federal court and alleges that Kroger has allowed systematic wage theft under the faulty “MyTime” payroll system.
“The result of that rollout has been, really in no uncertain terms, a disaster,” said Matthew Handley, an attorney representing the workers. “It has resulted in hundreds of employees having their pay incorrect and in many cases not being paid at all.”
He said the issues with the system are wide-ranging and include paychecks delayed for weeks at a time, insurance fees deducted twice in a month and overtime going repeatedly unpaid.
Horace Campfield is one of the workers who’s faced persistent problems under the new system. An employee of a Richmond-area Kroger for more than 17 years, Campfield took a much-needed paid vacation last year, but got a surprise when he came back.
“It took three weeks for me to receive my money, so I felt that shouldn’t happen somewhere I’ve worked 17 years,” he said, adding that another new employee hired to work with him didn’t receive any pay for a month and a half.
Another worker in Mechanicsville described her experience in a complaint filed in federal court, writing that when she worked more than 54 hours in one week last year, she was nevertheless paid at her standard rate for the over 14 hours of overtime she was owed. Even after she told Kroger about the errors, she claims they “failed to correct them.”
The exact source of the issues isn’t known to the plaintiffs yet, but Handley said they intend to find out during discovery.
“We certainly don’t know yet what exactly would cause that, but it is certainly linked to the introduction of this new payroll system,” he said. “That’s one of the things we’re gonna end up learning as the suit goes on.”
The suit claims the impact of the delayed and missing pay has been felt by workers who “have been forced to work second jobs, or take on high-interest and risky payday loans in order to meet daily expenses.”
The plaintiffs are asking the court to grant them all of the lost wages they’ve claimed and to order Kroger to fix the issues with MyTime. For his part, Campfield said he hopes Kroger will do the right thing and fix their mistakes.
“I’m disappointed right now how Kroger is handling us when it comes to our money, it’s very unfair,” he said. “And I love working for the company or I wouldn’t be there 17 whole years.”
8News reached out to Kroger for comment on the case, but received no response. Kroger has not yet filed their response to the complaint.