Joliet nurses sue Ascension Saint Joseph for wage theft

Lawsuit filed in federal court

Nurses at Ascension Saint Joseph – Joliet hospital have filed a class action lawsuit alleging wage theft against Ascension Health.

The lawsuit names four nurses at the Joliet hospital as plaintiffs and was presented to hospital administration in Joliet on Thursday.

Those nurses “and many other employees” of Ascension were paid incorrect wages, given incorrect paid time off and received incorrect disability benefits, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court on Wednesday.

“When ASJ (Ascension Saint Joseph) workers bring these underpayments to Defendant’s attention, Defendant is also unwilling or unable to fix their mistakes and accurately compensate these workers, even while not disputing that Defendant made the mistake,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit states that at least 100 employees at the Joliet hospital have been underpaid, and the plaintiff group could be widened to include them.

Ascension did not have an immediate comment.

Nurses names as plaintiffs are Desiree Lehr, Amanda Woolcock, Jennifer Kochniarczyk and Erin Lindy.

Woolcock was quoted in a news release issued by the Illinois Nurses Association, the union that represents nurses at the hospital, after the lawsuit was presented to administration.

“I was supposed to get a pay increase and when I didn’t receive it I kept getting redirected to different people who said they didn’t know how to process the request,” Woolcock said. “I never received that pay because Ascension management is making us pay the price of their disorganization.”

According the lawsuit, payroll processing for Ascension is based in Missouri, and there is no one in management in Joliet who can respond directly to employees about underpayments.

“As a result, there is no prompt or efficient resolution, or any resolution, of the numerous complaints, and the proper amount of wages continue to go unpaid,” the lawsuit states.

In addition to seeking unpaid wages, the lawsuit also asks for damages amounting to 5% of unpaid compensation for each month employees were not paid correctly.

The lawsuit was filed by the Chicago firm of Despres, Schwartz & Geoghegan, Ltd.

This is a developing story. Check for updates.