06

Jan

ARBITRATOR ORDERS EPIC SYSTEMS TO PAY ITS FORMER TECHNICAL WRITER OVERTIME WAGES

For immediate release:

January 6, 2020 (Madison, WI) – Wisconsin law firms Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. and Hawks Quindel S.C. recently secured an arbitration victory in an ongoing overtime pay lawsuit against Epic Systems of Verona, Wisconsin. The dispute centers on Epic Systems’ continued refusal to pay overtime wages to some groups of its employees.

More than a year and a half after the United States Supreme Court held that Epic Systems could force its employees seeking overtime wages out of court and into private arbitration, the first individual in a large group of Epic Systems’ employees with ongoing overtime claims against the Wisconsin software giant has run the gamut of arbitration; and won.

The claimant in the case, former Epic Systems Technical Writer Emily Harris commented, “although I strongly disagree with Epic’s practice of compelling employees to enter mandatory arbitration agreements, I’m relieved and encouraged by this decision. I hope that other current and former Epic employees will feel empowered to ask that their work be valued fairly.”

Caitlin Madden of Hawks Quindel, S.C., one of the attorneys representing Harris, shared that “while we are ecstatic for Ms. Harris as her wages are long overdue, we can’t help but feel that justice has not yet been done. The similarly situated Epic Systems Technical Writers won’t see a dime of the money Epic Systems is being forced to pay to Ms. Harris, due to their tactic of barring class actions and forcing their workers into a private arbitration. Instead all the Technical Writers at Epic will need to bring their claims separately.”

Attorney Jason Knutson of Habush Habush and Rottier, S.C., lead counsel at Ms. Harris’ arbitration, added that “until Epic Systems and employers like it stop using procedural tactics like forced arbitrations to avoid paying their workers the wages they’ve earned, or until such practices are banned, our lawyers will be taking these cases to arbitration one case at a time. Hopefully Epic Systems will follow the lead of some other mega-businesses and stop forcing these arbitration provisions on its employees.”

The arbitration was completed in one day in the fall of 2019. On December 27, 2019 the arbitrator issued an award ordering that Epic Systems pay overtime wages Harris had earned, along with additional damages. Epic Systems had argued that it did not have to pay Ms. Harris overtime because she was a “computer professional” or “administrative professional” as those terms as used in the employment regulations. The arbitrator disagreed and ruled that neither of those exemptions applied, and therefore Epic Systems was legally required to pay Ms. Harris the overtime pay she had earned.

The arbitration award is only part of the ongoing litigation against Epic Systems. In addition to Technical Writers like Ms. Harris, Epic Systems’ employees who work as Quality Assurance “QA” employees have also brought claims in arbitration for unpaid overtime. The law firms have already filed dozens of arbitrations on behalf of Epic Systems’ employees in the Technical Writer and Quality Assurance job roles. Hawks Quindel and Habush Habush & Rottier are handling the cases on a contingency fee basis, so that employees do not pay attorney fees unless they win.

 For additional information contact:

Attorney Jason Knutson
Habush Habush & Rottier S.C.
jknutson@habush.com
608-255-6663

Attorney Caitlin Madden
Hawks Quindel S.C.
cmadden@hq-law.com
608-257-0040

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Jason Knutson is a shareholder with the firm. His practice features complex litigation, such as major environmental and industrial accidents, and class action claims. He also handles cases of medical malpractice, products liability, and personal injury. Jason has had personal injury cases at every level of Wisconsin’s justice system from jury trials in county circuit courts to arguing before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  Additionally, Jason is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School where he has taught courses in trial advocacy, negotiation, legal writing, and lawyering skills.

Jason graduated cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School.  When not in the office or courtroom, his interests include art history, movies and aviation.