Confluence Health settles $850,000 employee ‘time-clock’ claim

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WENATCHEE — The Wenatchee Valley’s largest healthcare provider may soon pay a huge settlement to workers who say they were cheated out of paid time.

The case started in March 2018, when a former staffer at Confluence Health said time-clock policies at the central Washington chain of hospitals and clinics essentially robbed workers of up to 22 minutes of paid time. The class action lawsuit claimed the time-clock system rounded off minutes for employees who started earlier than their scheduled shift, and docked them up to 15 minutes if they returned from a break even one minute late.

Confluence denied the claims, but mediators helped the plaintiff and the hospital firm agree on an $850,000 settlement amount, to cover the claims of more than 4,000 current and former hourly employees.

Chelan County Judge Lesley Allan signed off on the agreement Friday. After attorneys’ fees and administrative costs, employees’ share of the settlement will be about $612,500. Attorneys are due to receive about $212,500, with the lawsuit’s two named plaintiffs — Kathy Allstot and Tami Gossard — earning an additional $2,000 each.

Any unclaimed funds will go to an in-house charity that assists Confluence employees who are in financial crisis.