University of Missouri Health Care will pay $3.6 million to settle a lawsuit over a timekeeping dispute filed by employees alleging they improperly deducted pay from employees for breaks they said they didn't take, or only took a portion of, according to a local report.
According to the Columbia Missourian, the suit alleged that MU Health Care had breached their contract and was "unjustly enriched" by the manner in which their timekeeping system, Kronos, operated.
The system's policy was to pay time-and-a-half for every hour beyond 40 that an employee worked, but not to pay for uninterrupted 30-minute meal breaks during shifts.
However, MU Health Care controlled the timekeeping logs and automatically deducted the meal breaks whether they were taken at all, or taken in full, the report said.
The original plaintiffs, respiratory therapist Richard Hunsley and nurse Donna Reeves, pursued class-action status for the suit, to include more than 2,500 current and former employees. The suit established that the employees were owed compensation for each break that was wrongly deducted.
Hunsley and Reeves will each be paid $5,000, and the attorneys who handled the suit are entitled to up to a third of the settlement. The rest will be disbursed among the other complainants.
MU Health Care said in a statement that "While MU Health Care believes that it has acted in accordance with the law regarding its payroll practices, the settlement prevents further legal expenses and ends any uncertainty created by the pending litigation."
The settlement is pending approval by the Boone County District Court.