MultiCare dispute over Kronos wage overpayments continues

A Washington state appeals court said Sept. 18 that MultiCare Health System's overpayments to employees in connection with a December 2021 Kronos ransomware attack need further review, Bloomberg Law reported Sept. 19. 

According to the Washington Court of Appeals, trial courts should not have granted a summary judgment — a decision made based on statements and evidence without going to trial — to three worker unions that filed suit against MultiCare for attempting to recover the alleged wage overpayments from workers. 

The court also said there is a dispute on whether MultiCare's "overpayments were infrequent and inadvertent under state law on recouping wage overpayments," according to the publication.  

This decision comes after the health system wanted to recover overpayments it may have made to workers after a Dec. 11 ransomware attack on Kronos Private Cloud. 

The unions argued that the law didn't allow MultiCare to recover the overpayments, according to the Washington State Nurses Association.  

The court agreed with the unions in a decision Oct. 14, 2022, and MultiCare was ordered to stop deductions unless it had an agreement with the individual member.

The attack on Kronos affected the companies' software platforms for scheduling, timekeeping, payroll and human resources, and hospitals and health systems that worked with them also had their payrolls affected by the incident. 

Tacoma, Wash.-based Mulitcare told Becker's it appreciates the Court of Appeals' review and decision.  

"MultiCare responded appropriately when it was the victim of a criminal cyberattack on its payroll vendor. Our values include good stewardship of the assets used to provide care to the communities we serve, and we will continue to find ways of recovering overpayments — as we told employees we would when we made those payroll advances while the payroll system was down.  We look forward to proving our case at trial."

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