Habush Habush and Rottier

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Epic in the News

I saw this article pop up in one of the various epic-related LinkedIn groups: Epic opportunity: The software giant is positioning Dane County for an economic breakthrough. Lots of interesting facts--Epic plans to add 800 positions a year for the next several years, and about 1200 employees leave each year. It also included Epic's 12 principles, which I'd forgotten about. There's enough in those 12 principles to fuel at least a couple of posts.

(Updated after a current Epic employee posted the comment below.)
Epic's 12 13 principles
1. Do not go public.
2. Do not be acquired.
3. Expectations = reality.
4. Keep commitments.
5. Be frugal.
6. Have standards. Don't do deals.
7. Create innovative and helpful products.
8. Have fun with customers.
9. Follow processes. Find root causes. Fix processes.
10. Don't take on debt, no matter how good the deal. Don't take on debt for operations, no matter how good the deal.
11. Focus on competency. Do not tolerate mediocrity.
12. Teach philosophy and culture.
13.  If you disagree, dissent. Once decided, support.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Class Action Suit Filed Against Epic. Seriously.

A reader of this blog brought this to my attention: Epic hit with class-action lawsuit on overtime wages. It appears as though ex-Epic QAer, Evan Nordgren, was not properly paid time-and-a-half for overtime work during his tenure as an Epic Systems Corporation employee. Habush, Habush, and Rottier are representing the case, and they have a form on their website if you were a QAer in the last 3 years and would like to join the list of plaintiffs.

Wisconsin state law stipulates that all employees are eligible to earn time-and-a-half for overtime, unless they fall under certain exemptions. I remember looking at those exemptions years ago and deciding that Epic TS were sadly exempt from time-and-a-half. Nordgren's lawyer, William Parsons, believes otherwise about QAers.

Epic had this to say in response, according to the numerous (albeit repetitive) articles I found on the subject:
We believe the lawsuit is without merit. We provide good, professional jobs to very talented people, and we value their contribution to improving health care. State and federal law make it clear that employees in computer-related jobs who primarily test software are appropriately classified as salaried professionals. That is precisely the role our quality assurance team performs.
After doing a quick calculation based on Wisconsin law DWD 274.04(15), if you work at Epic and make less than $53,460 yearly, you may be eligible for overtime pay (calculated by $23.67 hourly pay times 2000 hour work-year). As we all know, the 40-hour work week doesn't exist at 1979 Milky Way, so the real hourly wages for QAers are probably much less.

I'm very excited to see how this turns out. I'll post updates here as I learn more.

Update 4/7/14:
A commenter posted this on a separate page, but I thought it belonged here:
Epic recently responded to this internally. All new and current employees have to sign away their rights to litigation over wage and hour questions as a term of new/continued employment. An excerpt:

"I understand and agree that arbitration is the only litigation forum for resolving covered claims, and that both Epic and I are waiving the right to a trial before a judge or jury in federal or state court in favor of arbitration."

Caveat Emptor
 I did a brief search on the benefits of arbitration vs a trial. (Source: http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/arbitration-vs-bench-trial-55694/) Arbitration is more expensive than a trial, offers little ability to appeal, but offers more privacy. It's that last quality that I think Epic is more interested in. Everything they do internally is shrouded in secrecy, especially anything negative (like a lawsuit alleging they don't pay their employees fairly). Caveat emptor, indeed.

Update 12/4/14
I'm behind on posting this, but Epic settled the dispute.  Epic unsurprisingly admitted no guilt or wrongdoing, but did set aside $5.4 million for the settlement. With a class of around 1000 members, that boils down to at most $5400 per person. That's a bit over a single month's pay for your average QAer at Epic.