For immediate release:
February 12, 2020 (Madison, WI) – In the ongoing overtime pay litigation against Epic Systems of Verona, Wisconsin, the law firms Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. and Hawks Quindel S.C. have secured another victory on behalf of a former Epic employee. This is the second victory in so many arbitrations to date regarding Epic Technical Writers. The dispute centers on Epic Systems’ continued refusal to pay overtime wages to some groups of its employees.
This lawsuit was formerly a class action case in Wisconsin’s Federal Court. However, Epic Systems then forced these claims into private arbitration, with no right to a class or collective action. The Federal District Court in Madison, and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago held that Epic’s use of a forced arbitration provision was illegal. Epic appealed that decision, and in May 2018, the conservative majority of the Supreme Court of the United States held that Epic Systems could force its employees seeking overtime wages out of court and into private arbitration with no right to join their claims together.
Following that ruling, dozens of individual Epic employees have filed individual arbitrations to collect the unpaid overtime wages they earned while working for the software giant. Most recently, former Epic Systems Technical Writer Richard Reese became the second individual to complete his arbitration from this large group of Epic Systems’ employees; and the second employee to win.
Attorney Jason Knutson, who represented Mr. Reese at his arbitration commented, “We are encouraged that another arbitrator has agreed Epic has violated employment laws and must pay overtime to these employees. We will continue to bring these claims until Epic either changes its pay practice to comply with the law, or until all employees that should have been paid overtime get all the money they earned.” Co-counsel, Caitlin Madden, added that “It’s a shame that these employees have had to wait for so long to be paid their earned overtime wages. We really do hope that Epic starts paying its Technical Writers properly.”
The arbitrator issued an award ordering that Epic Systems pay overtime wages Mr. Reese had earned, along with additional damages. Epic had argued it did not have to pay Mr. Reese overtime because he was a “computer professional” or “administrative professional” as those terms are 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 Mr. Reese the overtime pay he had earned.
This most recent victory is important and is only part of the ongoing litigation against Epic Systems. In addition to Technical Writers like Mr. Reese, 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.
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