As of Monday, Providence Health & Services in Oregon is facing a potential class action lawsuit over nurses’ wages. According to a statement released by the Oregon Nurse’s Association (ONA), the lawsuit was filed by Jamie Aguliar, a member of the Oregon Nurses Association, and claims that the company deliberately underpaid thousands of non-salaried employees.
The lawsuit argues that the problems started several months ago when Providence switched to Genesis HR Solutions to manage payroll and alleges underpayment and short paychecks.
In a news release about the case, Richard Botterill, the Oregon Nurses Association executive committee chair at Providence Portland Medical Center, said, “It would be a problem if this happened to a handful of workers. This is an out-and-out disaster. Providence is paying frontline nurses and health care workers pennies on the dollar and keeping the difference. This is a multi-billion dollar company cheating nurses and working families out of their hard-earned livelihoods. Robbing workers of the money they rely on for food, rent and basic needs is unacceptable.”
Statement From Providence Health & Services
Nurse.org reached out to Providence Health & Services Oregon for a statement. Gary Walker, a Providence spokesperson responded with the following Genesis-Related Pay Discrepancy Update, dated August 15, 2022:
“Providence apologizes to its caregivers and their families who have been affected by recent paycheck issues. We take these issues incredibly seriously and we are working daily to identify and resolve reported issues. To ensure our caregivers are kept whole during this unfortunate disruption, we are running off-cycle paycheck batches daily as needed, with the correct retroactive pay.
Here’s what happened: In early July, Providence implemented a new enterprise resource planning system – known as Genesis — to improve administrative processes, including human resources, timekeeping, and payroll. Previously, multiple systems, including some outdated technology, had been used resulting in a fragmented experience and requiring manual processes.
As of Aug.15, less than 2% of Providence caregivers in Oregon continued to experience incorrect pay, specifically related to pay differentials and premium pay. These remaining issues are being resolved as quickly as possible. Oregon Nurses Association (ONA)’s suggestions that Providence is “robbing workers” and intentionally underpaying its caregivers are completely and utterly false.
In addition, the news release from ONA mentioned “more than 90,000” HR tickets filed by Providence caregivers. That figure refers to the number filed since July across the entire seven-state Providence health system. It includes issues that are not paycheck-related, and duplicate reporting by some caregivers. We are making progress on resolving these issues on a daily basis.
Again, we deeply regret that some valued caregivers, and their families, have had to bear any financial hardship, anxiety or disruption as a result of this transition. As an employer, providing accurate and timely pay for caregivers’ time and talents is one of the most fundamental roles we play.
The Providence Mission calls us to care for all. This includes our caregivers. We are absolutely committed to doing everything we can to resolve the remaining outstanding issues as quickly as possible. We also remain profoundly grateful to our caregivers for their patience and for all they do to serve patients in need.”
Ultimately, the lawsuit outlines several demands from the plaintiffs that include the following:
- Using the previous payroll system as a backup to provide some checks and balances and ensure accurate paychecks.
- Conducting an exhaustive audit of every time card that has been generated since Genesis was implemented.
- Identifying and correcting all erroneous wage deductions and restoring all lost benefits.
- Paying both indirect and direct damages to any worker who was affected by the mistakes. This could include everything from overdraft fees, late payments, and penalties, and missed rent and mortgage payments.