A lawsuit alleging Cerner Corp. improperly failed to pay hundreds of employees overtime wages has been certified as a class action.
Jackson County Circuit Judge W. Brent Powell issued the ruling Tuesday, finding that common issues predominated over individual ones and there were enough would-be class members to warrant class certification.
The suit was filed in 2015 by Laura Scott and alleges that Cerner exempted so-called delivery consultants and system analysts from overtime pay.
Scott contends the jobs are entry level positions requiring little or no training in systems analysis, software engineering or computer programing.
Cerner argues the positions are not menial but call for analyzing large amounts of information and training clients how to use custom software.
In his decision, Powell said additional discovery in the case may support Cerner’s position. But for purposes of determining whether to certify the class, he accepted Scott’s allegations as true.
The lawsuit says that Cerner employed 350 delivery consultants in 2013 and hired 400 delivery consultants in 2015.
The case is one of several that have been filed against Cerner over its overtime policies.
Three of the cases, filed in federal court, were settled on undisclosed terms, according to Kansas City attorney Eric Dirks, who represents Scott and has been involved in some of the other cases. Another case was filed recently in federal court and is pending.
A sixth case is pending in Cass County. The judge ruled that it, too, could proceed as a class action on behalf of so-called learning consultants at Cerner.
Each of the lawsuits, while sharing common allegations that Cerner misclassifies employees as exempt from overtime, involves different job descriptions.
“Cerner uses a lot of terms and titles throughout its organization that sound fancier than what we think they are,” Dirks says. “For example, the learning consultants and the delivery consultants in the Cass and Jackson (county) cases – these are folks that are entry-level, straight out of college, with no real minimal requirements other than a college degree and a willingness to relocate to Kansas City.”
A spokeswoman for Cerner says the company does not comment on pending litigation.
Dan Margolies is KCUR’s health editor. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.