Originally published in the Winter/Spring 2023 edition of the Virginia Defender, issue 71, printed March 22. Reproduced here for accessibility and archival purposes. To find other stories in the Winter/Spring 2023 issue or to download the full PDF, see this post. For other issues dating back to 2012, see the Full Issues page.
By Kat McNeal
A group of Kroger workers in Virginia and West Virginia have filed a class action lawsuit against the giant grocery chain, charging that the company’s payroll software has been systematically shorting workers their rightful pay.
The lawsuit, filed Jan. 19 in Richmond federal court, alleges that the problems with the payroll software MyTime began as soon as it was adopted, in the middle of the busy holiday season at the start of 2022. According to the suit, workers weren’t paid for overtime that they worked; experienced weeks-long delays getting their paychecks or never got them at all; and reported problems such as incorrect pay and incorrect deductions for insurance and taxes.
According to the filing, the MyTime issues have caused workers to have to get second jobs or resort to risky high-interest loans to make ends meet.
One named plaintiff, from St. Albans, W.Va., said she was hired as a clerk in August 2022 and worked 79 hours, but was not paid at all. Unable to afford working for free, she had to quit after five weeks.
We reached out to Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic division, but were told the company is not commenting on the lawsuit.
Rachel Nadas, one of the lawyers who filed the suit, told the Defender that, while the legal team doesn’t know exactly how much Kroger allegedly wrongfully withheld from its workers, they believe the amount is at least $5 million.
That $5 million is just in Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic region. A similar lawsuit was filed against Kroger in Ohio in November 2022. On the West Coast, where Kroger owns Ralphs, Quality Food Centers, King Soopers and other chains, workers have filed their own lawsuits in Oregon and Washington state over the MyTime wage issues.
Kroger is expected to respond to the complaint in court in July, Nadas said.
In the meantime, the union covering Kroger workers in this region, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400, has submitted Unfair Labor Practice charges against the company with the National Labor Relations Board. UFCW Local 400 says that it has received, and continues to receive, hundreds of complaints about the MyTime software and pay issues.
According to its website, the Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. is one of the largest retailers in the country based on annual sales. It operates 2,750 grocery retail stores under a variety of banner names.
If you work for Kroger in Virginia or West Virginia and believe you were subjected to wage theft by the MyTime software, you can contact the law firm Handley Farah & Anderson of Washington, D.C., to learn about joining the lawsuit.
Categories: Our Working Lives
Leave a Reply