Kroger workers in Virginia and West Virginia have filed a federal lawsuit against the retailer alleging widespread problems with paychecks for hourly employees.
The problems include workers not being paid for hours worked, workers not being compensated at the proper overtime rates and workers having unauthorized amounts deducted from their paychecks, according to the filing with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond.
The suit, which seeks class-action status, alleges violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), as well as several Virginia and West Virginia labor laws.
The payroll problems began last year after Kroger implemented a new software system called MyTime or MyInfo, according to the lawsuit.
“Since the MyTime system was rolled out, and continuing through the present, plaintiffs and similarly situated hourly, non-exempt employees of defendant in Virginia and West Virginia have not been regularly receiving their lawfully owed wages,” the suit states.
Kroger has acknowledged that the problems are attributable to the MyTime system, according to the suit.
A spokesperson for Kroger could not be reached for comment.
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400, which represents many of the workers in the region, said it has received more than 1,000 reports of payroll discrepancies, which it describes as “wage theft.”
In December, the union filed unfair labor practices charges against Kroger through the National Labor Relations Board.
“This is wage theft, plain and simple,” said Mark Federici, president of UFCW Local 400, in a statement. “Despite using every available avenue to bring these problems to Kroger’s attention, the company has refused to correct its payroll system. This is simply unacceptable.”
He also said the problems at Kroger stores in Virginia and West Virginia have also cropped up in other regions of the country.
“What we once thought was an isolated local glitch has since revealed itself to be a national problem,” Federici said.
In November, workers at Kroger-owned Fred Meyer stores in Oregon filed a federal lawsuit with similar allegations.
According to the Virginia lawsuit:
• Plaintiffs Donald Austin and Sharon Simpson, who work at Kroger stores in Appomattox, Va., and Charleston, W. Va., respectively, each went four weeks without receiving a paycheck. (Simpson has since resigned.)
• Plaintiff Lori Dalton, who works for Kroger in Saint Albans, W. Va., alleges that her spousal insurance co-payment was deducted twice each paycheck for nearly two months.
“As our case will show, Kroger has engaged in a persistent pattern of wage theft through its failure to correct ongoing and systemic payroll problems resulting from its new ‘MyTime’ software,” said attorney Matthew Handley, whose Washington, D.C.-based law firm Handley Farah & Anderson PLLC filed the suit, in a statement. “The company’s failure to correct these problems is in clear violation of federal and state law, and we intend to seek every remedy available on behalf of these workers.”