After six years of lawsuits from Epic Systems employees over their compensation, a federal judge has dismissed the only one that remained.
Quality assurance employees at Epic sued in December 2016 under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) over the legality of contracts that forbid class-action lawsuits on unpaid overtime and other employee-employer disputes.
Kate Schultz, along with other quality assurance workers, claimed in the lawsuit that they were illegally denied overtime because their job positions were misclassified as exempt from overtime wages under state and federal law.
Last week, U.S. District Judge William Conley dismissed the lawsuit, following the precedent set by the U.S. Supreme Court in May 2018, when a 5-4 majority ruled that it was legal for the company to prohibit class-action lawsuits in contracts and that employees need to take up their grievances with the company individually through arbitration instead of through class-action lawsuits.
Schultz alleged in court documents that she and other employees were “paid a fixed salary without regard to the number of hours they worked” for a job that required “little if any training or education” in engineering or programming. Under those premises, Schultz argued, the quality assurance employees should not have been exempt from overtime wages.
The December 2016 complaint from Habush, Habush & Rottier S.C., Schultz’s representation, also stated that Epic was aware – or should have been aware – of the employees’ workload because they were required to record their hours.
According to a March 26 story from the Wisconsin State Journal, Conley wrote in his dismissal that Epic did not mislead their workers over the difference between court cases and arbitration.
“Employees are generally responsible for knowing their legal rights, rather than depending on the contracting party sitting across the table from them in a negotiation, even an arguably one-sided one with their employers,” Conley’s dismissal reads.
In the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion, stating that the Court had no legitimacy under either the NLRA or the Arbitration Act to invalidate the contracts between Epic and its employees. In a dissent from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for the four judges in the minority, she wrote that class-action lawsuits allow employees to fight for “effective redress” of grievances.
Epic spokesperson Meghan Roh told the Press Monday the company had no comment on the judge’s dismissal.
Epic has been involved in three other lawsuits from their employees, all regarding overtime wages and illegal job classifications, one from 2013 and two from 2015.