A former employee of Verona-based healthcare software giant Epic Systems is suing the company, accusing them of never paying overtime wages.
Evan Nordgren filed a class-action lawsuit Friday suing the company for a substantial amount of money, according to Nordgren’s lawyer Bill Parsons.
Parsons said this lawsuit claims the company not only did not pay Nordgren, but does not pay their employees overtime wages at all.
In an statement sent to The Badger Herald, Epic said the claim is completely false.
“We believe the lawsuit is without merit,” the statement said. “We provide good, professional jobs to very talented people and we value their contribution to improving healthcare.”
However, Parsons said the lawsuit is a statement in itself.
“At this point, we are pretty happy to just sort of let the lawsuit speak for itself,” Parsons said. “It is a claim for unpaid wages for the Epic employees in the quality assurance position over the last three years.”
As of now, Parsons said Epic has all of the information regarding how many employees this lawsuit may affect. Parsons said he estimates that there could be approximately 1,000 employees affected by this lawsuit.
In an email to The Badger Herald, Professor Barry Eidlin, a University of Wisconsin expert on labor politics and inequalities, said this type of lawsuit is based on the Fair Labor Standards Act, enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938.
“The FLSA established rules regarding minimum wages and overtime compensation for most workers,” Eidlin said. “However, the law exempts certain categories of workers from its protections, including so-called ‘professional’ and ‘computer’ employees. These workers can be compensated based on a 40 hour/week salary, regardless of how many hours they actually work.”
According to Eidlin, Epic Systems is arguing the plaintiff falls under this exempt category.
Epic said in its statement those in “computer-related jobs” are in the category.
“State and federal law make it clear that employees in computer-related jobs who primarily test software are appropriately classified as salaried professionals,” the statement said. “That is precisely the role our quality assurance team performs.”
These employees are “highly skilled professionals” and are expected to work long hours due to their high salaries, Eidlin said.
He said employers purposely choose to classify these workers this way.
“While this certainly happens in some cases, employers routinely seek to classify workers doing what is essentially routine clerical or administrative work as ‘professionals,’ precisely so they can evade many labor and employment law protections,” Eidlin said.
Although Eidlin said he is not particularly familiar with the duties of Epic’s employees who are filing for this lawsuit, he said the current United States labor and employment laws favor employers. He said he thinks it will be a challenge for Epic employees to make and win this case.
At this time, there is no statement from Nordgren himself, Parsons said.
Parsons said he does not have all of that information yet to determine an exact dollar amount for the money in the lawsuit. However, he said he predicts there will be a “significant amount” of money in the case.