By COLIN STAUB
Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) says a new payroll system at Providence hospitals has an unfortunate feature: It routinely underpays thousands of nurses. In a class action lawsuit filed this month, the nurses are demanding their full pay.
Jamie Aguilar, a nurse in Providence’s Home Health & Hospice division and an active ONA leader, filed the lawsuit in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Aug. 15. Aguilar filed the complaint on behalf of all Providence workers who have been underpaid in recent weeks.
According to the filing, Providence activated a new payroll software, called Genesis, on July 8. Since then, some workers have noticed errors on their paychecks, including mistakes in their pay rate, their hours worked, deductions/withholdings, overtime, premium pay, PTO accrual and bonuses earned. In some cases, paychecks have been late or missing altogether, according to the lawsuit.
In a press release announcing the lawsuit, ONA said hundreds of nurses—and other non-ONA-represented workers—have been impacted by the payroll problems. At least 200 ONA members will seek monetary damages through the class action, the release says. The errors were ongoing when the lawsuit was filed, so that number could grow.
Beyond back wages, the lawsuit asks that the court compel Providence to fix the problem. That could mean replacing Genesis with a system that accurately pays workers.
Providence responded to the lawsuit in a statement describing the errors as an “unfortunate disruption” in its transition from an older payroll system to the new technology. The older system resulted in a “fragmented experience” and required manual processes, Providence stated. The statement acknowledged some workers continued to have paycheck errors, but it said the hospital is working to correct the problem.
The statement didn’t address the class action lawsuit.