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Fmr. employee accuses Epic of not paying overtime wages

Published: Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 --- 5:15 p.m.

A former employee of Verona-based Epic Systems has accused the medical software company of not paying him and others overtime when they worked more than 40 hours a week.

Evan Nordgren filed a class action law suit Friday on behalf of up to 1,000 past and present employees with the job title Quality Assurance team member, or QA. Essentially they test Epic's software. What that position actually entails, though, is at the crux of this case.

Under state and federal law, not everyone is entitled to overtime pay. Jason Knutson, one of the attorneys representing Epic's QAs, says computer programmers are exempt, but what the QAs do is different, and therefore their job does not fall under an exemption.

"Just go to Epic's website," Knutson said. "You can see the job description for this position, the QA position. And you can see that it is not someone who does computer programming. That's important because it appears that Epic is arguing that this group of employees was programmers. But based on their job duties, they really weren't."

The lawsuit alleges QAs who worked more than 40-hours a week in the past three years were denied overtime wages under an illegal pay policy that misclassified them as exempt. They were paid a fixed salary despite the number of hours worked.

The lawsuit seeks back wages for employees, and that it is certified as a class action lawsuit.

"It would be almost impossible for one or two employees to take on Epic," Knutson said. "And they certainly wouldn't be able to afford it. So by putting a class of 1,000 or more of these employees together, they're able to bring all of their claims and spread the risk and the expense of doing that. We're hoping that this will change the practice at Epic so that employees who work overtime are paid overtime in the future."

Epic said in a statement: "We believe the lawsuit is without merit. We provide good, professional jobs to very talented people, and we value their contribution to improving health care. State and federal law make it clear that employees in computer-related jobs who primarily test software are appropriately classified as salaried professionals. That is precisely the role our quality assurance team performs.”

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