Local News

Payroll hitch has state employees considering lawsuit

Posted August 4, 2008 10:46 p.m. EDT
Updated August 5, 2008 6:21 a.m. EDT

— The Public Service Workers' Union is threatening a possible class-action lawsuit against the state. 

Many state workers claim they are not getting paid for all the hours they put in. It has been a problem for months and employees WRAL spoke with said they are fed up.

"I have no time off because I spend my time doing this,” Beverly Moriarty, a nurse who has worked at Dorthea Dix Hospital for 13 years, said of checking her paychecks.

Since April, when the state rolled out the BEACON HR/Payroll Project, employees statewide have complained about not getting overtime and shift-differential pay. Moriarty said she is out roughly $1,500.

“We're not getting paid right,” she said. “Each month has been off."

WRAL has received numerous complaints from workers at the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Correction.

“It's not just repaying dollar for dollar what we've earned, but who is going to pay us for the consequences of late fees and fines and lost credit?” Moriarty asked.

As a member of the North Carolina Public Service Workers' Union, Moriarty said they are discussing a possible class-action lawsuit.

“I'm charged with producing a payroll for the state employees and my charge is to make sure everyone is paid and paid correctly,” said Herb Henderson, with Office of the State Controller.

Henderson said the problem is not with the new system, but rather with the people who input the information.

“That responsibility is with the individual agency. I mean, they've got to make the corrections,” he said.

“Well, that's very convenient of them to say that, but I believe that the buck has to stop with the people who institute the system,” Moriarty said.

“To have anyone with a mistake in their payroll is unacceptable and that's the reason why my team is here, as well as the agency teams (that) are working 10 to 12 hours a day,” Henderson said.

“It behooves them to put people in a room, literally, with a porta potty and delivery pizza and stay there until they get it right,” Moriarty said.

The Public Service Workers' Union said it will decide in the next week or so whether to move forward with a class-action suit. The State Employees Association of North Carolina is also investigating the matter.

Employees can call hotlines to have their case reviewed, in Raleigh at 919-707-0707, and elsewhere in the state at 866-622-3784.