Kroger is facing at least four class action lawsuits for ongoing paycheck errors connected with the company’s new payroll software system, and details are beginning to emerge on the scope of the problems. In Washington state, the company said it’s possible every employee of Kroger subsidiary Fred Meyer who received a paycheck under the new system has been affected.
The payroll problems began to emerge in October 2022, just after the company’s Sept. 25 implementation of a new payroll system known as “MyTime.” Workers began noticing their paychecks had the wrong amount, or paid time off wasn’t accruing properly, or there were arbitrary deductions. Kroger workers from Alaska to Nevada to Florida told the Labor Press they noticed paycheck errors, had checks bounce, or simply weren’t paid at all.
By Nov. 17, Portland workers rights law firm Bennett Hartman filed a class action lawsuit against Fred Meyer on behalf of Oregon workers, who are represented by UFCW Local 555. The lawsuit seeks to recover back pay and damages to compensate workers who have had to get payday loans and take other measures because of a missing paycheck.
Since then, Fred Meyer has been hit with a similar class action lawsuit in Washington, and parent company Kroger is facing lawsuits over paycheck errors in Virginia and Ohio.
In a Washington court filing Jan. 9, Fred Meyer’s human resources department revealed specifics of the payroll problems. Division assistant HR leader Tricia Halpin told the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington that in October, November, and December, Fred Meyer received 1,658 payroll complaints from workers in Washington alone and continues to receive complaints “on an almost daily basis.” Halpin said an additioanl 147 complaints have come to Fred Meyer through Washington Labor & Industries (L&I), the state’s labor regulatory agency.
Halpin provided a “conservative estimate” that the company paid $1,348,616 to 7,636 workers in Washington by the end of December, just in off-cycle payments—that is, checks issued to workers separate from their regular paycheck. That doesn’t include payments that were tacked onto regular paychecks, or prepaid gift cards issued to workers in response to the payroll errors. Halpin estimated there were “at least several thousand additional payroll errors and affected employees” not included in the off-cycle data.
The HR officer was blunt about the scope of the payroll problems.
“Given the widespread and systemic nature of the payroll discrepancies at issue in this case, it is possible that every employee who received a paycheck under the new payroll system has been affected to some degree,” Halpin wrote.
That differs sharply from Fred Meyer’s media statements about the problem just six weeks ago. In mid-December, a spokesperson told Seattle CBS affiliate KIRO that “a technical error affected payroll processing for a small percentage of our associates. We have apologized to our associates and understand the impact.”
A Fred Meyer spokesperson did not respond to an interview request.