Ascension to pay $19.7M to settle wage suit

St. Louis-based Ascension Health and one of its hospitals in Florida have agreed to pay $19.7 million to thousands of workers to end wage disputes tied to a ransomware attack against Ultimate Kronos Group, a human resources and management company, that hindered the ability of several health systems to process payrolls, according to Law360.

The lawsuit, filed in March, alleged Ascension and Sacred Heart Health System improperly calculated overtime payments and wages after the December 2021 ransomware attack, according to Law360

Ascension voluntarily conducted a reconciliation and reimbursed 100 percent of any underpayments to workers who had been underpaid as a result of the ransomware attack, according to court documents. The amounts recovered from the Kronos incident claims are in addition to any wages that were owed. 

"Defendants asserted and have produced evidence supporting that with respect to the Kronos incident, they reconciled and paid in the pay period directly following their regaining access to the Kronos timekeeping system, all unpaid wages and overtime compensation that was owed to non-exempt employees arising from the Kronos incident that affected the three pay periods at issue," according to court documents. "Further, as defendants' data was stolen from a vendor (Kronos) and held for ransom by a third party, defendants assert that they acted in good faith to ensure compliance with their legal obligations arising from the Kronos incident, including the immediate institution of manual timekeeping processes."

Up to one-third of the settlement amount will go toward attorneys' fees, according to court documents.

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