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Kroger Slammed with Wage Theft Class Action Lawsuits

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Class Action lawsuits filed by Kroger employees allege the grocery giant of wage theft due to its failure to correct payroll problems.

Cincinnati, OHKroger Co.  is facing four class action lawsuits filed by its employees in five states alleging the Cincinnati-based grocery giant engaged in widespread wage theft stemming from repeated and ongoing problems with its payroll system. Thousands of employees across the U.S. have been affected, including some workers reporting they waited weeks without a paycheck.

Kroger Payroll Problems

According to a complaint filed in federal court in Richmond, “MyTime/MyInfo”-- a new payroll system-- installed last December “resulted in many workers not getting paid for all hours worked, sometimes going weeks without pay, having double deductions taken out of their paychecks for things like health insurance, not getting paid the correct hourly rates, and more. One plaintiff’s attorney said, “Even though this began many months ago, last year in 2022, the problem still persists, and efforts to try to resolve it with Kroger have not been very productive.”

According to UFCW75, Kroger’s new “MyTime” system is “completely unacceptable, and in many cases, illegal”. Reports from union members experiencing payroll problems include:
  • Missed or incomplete paychecks
  • Holidays and vacations not being paid
  • Premiums not being paid
  • Overcharging for health insurance
  • Missing overtime, tax deductions, and/or contributions to health & welfare benefits

UFCW Local Unions

Kroger is also facing union grievances across the country. Last December the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW), which represents 1.3 million workers and is the largest private sector union in the U.S., said in a news release that most technical issues had been resolved, but “UFCW locals are mulling their options…including some UFCW union locals taking action for members experiencing paycheck problems.” Those actions include “direct engagement with the company, class action grievances, lawsuits, and formal Unfair Labor Practice charges filed with the NLRB”.

WCPO News in Cincinnati reported in late January that payroll problems started in Toledo. “There was something wrong with holiday pay and that started this flurry of things,” said Karen Brown, with the union representing about 30,000 members in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. The union filed a grievance over holiday pay but declined to provide details. Union reps are handling most complaints without filing a grievance, Brown said. Instead, they reach out to store managers to identify the mistake and fix them. According to WCPO, a Dayton area Kroger employee, who asked not to be identified because he fears retaliation, said he is one of “many individuals” who “have not gotten compensation for vacations they took last year. In the four area stores that I know of there’s probably 60-70 people that are behind on utility bills as a result. One employee was on medical leave and wasn’t paid for that.”

Hundreds of UFCW members working for Kroger’s Fred Meyer, QFC, Mid-Atlantic and Michigan divisions have reported issues with the “MyTime/MyInfo” system, ranging from missed or incomplete paychecks to missing contributions to health and welfare benefits, the unions said. Fred Meyer stores received 1,658 payroll complaints out of 17,155 people employed in 61 Washington stores in the last four months of 2022. She estimated that Fred Meyer paid at least $1.1 million to correct pay errors so far and she expected that number to rise in the future.

In Cincinnati, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 75 is getting about 40 complaints a week from a December blog post inviting union members to report problems with Kroger’s new “MyTime” system.

Kroger Wage Theft Lawsuits

Local 400, which represents approximately 13,000 Kroger associates in Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, filed a class action in federal court in Richmond, Virginia. The union claims Kroger violated its collective bargaining agreement, and in December, the union filed Unfair Labor Practice charges against Kroger through the National Labor Relations Board. “This is wage theft, plain and simple,” said UFCW Local 400 President Mark Federici.

A Kroger worker in Kentucky claims he was not paid for two weeks in October and November and his pay was delayed for a third week. Brandon Wilder’s complaint, filed in U.S. District Court, Southern Ohio, is seeking class-action status on behalf of all Kroger employees in Kentucky who had similar problems after Sept. 1.

A Kroger cheese shop employee in Charleston, West Virginia, claims she worked 79 hours over five weeks without being paid. According to Peoples World, Sharon Simpson never got paid. She got so frustrated, she resigned. She and three other plaintiffs seek more than $5 million in in damages on behalf of Kroger employees in Virginia and West Virginia.

Five Fred Meyer employees in Portland, Salem and Medford, Oregon are trying to form a class of more than 10,000 workers who had pay problems after August 2022. The alleged problems include missing or late paychecks and mistakes in hours worked, wages paid and statements of deductions and withholdings.

A Vancouver, Washington employee filed a class-action complaint in state court but Fred Meyer attorneys removed the case to federal court, arguing the amount in controversy exceeds the $5 million threshold for federal jurisdiction. Fred Meyer stores received 1,658 payroll complaints out of 17,155 people employed in 61 Washington stores in the last four months of 2022. It is estimated that Fred Meyer paid at least $1.1 million to correct pay errors so far.  

The Huffington Post reports that Kroger has violated both federal and state wage laws by not paying employees for all their work. Under Virginia law, victims of wage theft may be owed three times the back pay amount.

Kroger Response

Kroger still has neither explained what caused the MyTime problem nor how many workers were affected. In a statement it said, “While the majority of issues have been resolved, we understand these issues have caused undue difficulty for the impacted associates. Teams are working around the clock to resolve payroll issues for the remaining small percentage of associates affected by these processing errors. We are taking multiple steps to pay our associates as quickly as possible, including overnighting checks to impacted associates.”

However, union officials and Kroger employees say the problems are not resolved. Kroger was recently in the news regarding its involvement in the opioid crisis. In 2022 it agreed to pay $85 million to resolve claims the grocer contributed to the opioid crisis in New Mexico. 


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Posted by

This issue is with our Fred Meyers in Washington state. No or not enough federal with held, from all of 2023 payroll. Complaints to HR was resolved by telling us that it will be fixed before our w-2 come out...nope! I personally feel kroger should pay my federal taxes that they didn't take out as per my paperwork. This is not just my issue. It's happened to many of us in just this small store. I'm sure it's the same in bigger stores/areas! I had to remove money's from my 401 to pay my taxes! Complaints aren't dealt with in a timely manner what so ever!!

Posted by

I live in Nashville Tennessee. Due to the bad payroll system Kroger implemented, I had no way of knowing that Federal Taxes were not being deducted from my pay. There are many other employees with this same issue. Now I am suffering a financial hardship because I have to pay all of that money to IRS. I tried for months to get a resolution with Kroger payroll & HR departments to no avail. I had to quit the job in order not to be indebted to the IRS further. I am a senior citizen whose only other income is Social Security. Is there any legal action being taken against Kroger for this situation also?


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