Companies are always trying to cut costs. The lower their costs, the bigger their profits, and in business, it’s all about the profit. Unfortunately, companies sometimes cross the line from legal methods of cutting costs to illegal methods, and it’s often the employees that end up paying the price.
Hourly employees are the most vulnerable, since they are at the bottom of the ladder and are often unaware of all their rights under state and federal labor laws. Salaried employees aren’t safe either, though. Some employees who earn a salary can be considered exempt from overtime compensation under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), but the Act is very specific about the types of employees that can qualify for the exemption.
Under the FLSA, there are three categories of employees that can be considered exempt from overtime: administrative, executive, and professional. When determining whether an employee can qualify for the exemption, the Act considers much more than how they’re paid and their titles. It also takes into account the specific responsibilities of the employees.
For the administrative category, the employee must perform mostly office work and provide administrative assistance directly to an executive. Employees under the executive category have spend the majority of their time managing other employees, be able to discipline those employees, and have a direct say in the hiring and firing of those employees. The professional category covers workers whose jobs require a particular skill set or level of education, such as doctors, lawyers, artists and musicians.
The executive category is probably the most misunderstood. Oftentimes, managers who spend the majority of their time performing the same duties as hourly employees get classified as exempt from overtime, simply because they have the title of “manager”. One recent wage and hour lawsuit is accusing Bed Bath & Beyond of allegedly misclassifying its department managers as exempt from overtime.
The former employee who filed the lawsuit, Joshua, worked as a department manager at a Bed Bath & Beyond store in Houston, Texas for most of 2014. He was paid a salary but alleges Bed Bath & Beyond did not maintain accurate records of all the time he spent working. Joshua kept his own time records and is using that and the company’s pay records to determine the amount of overtime compensation he alleges the company owes him.
The FLSA requires employers to maintain accurate records of all time worked and wages earned by and paid to employees. Failure to do so can be used in court to prove wage and hour violations were committed knowingly and intentionally.
Joshua alleges his supervisors were aware of how much time he spent working every week, yet they allegedly did nothing to stop it or to make sure he was properly compensated for the overtime he worked.
This is not the first wage and hour lawsuit Bed Bath & Beyond has had to face. Similar lawsuits have alleged the company’s managers are misclassified as exempt, then regularly made to work up to 60 hours per week. The retailer has also been accused of failing to reimburse employees for business expenses, failing to pay wages in a timely manner, and failing to provide seating. Bed Bath & Beyond denies the claims in all of these suits and in the most current suit claiming it has complied with all laws.The Chicago overtime lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims against large retail chains such as Petsmart, Officemax, Staples, Smart & Final, Apple, Walgreen’s, CVS, Urban Outfitters, GAP, Abercrombie & Fitch, Limited, Forever 21, Macy’s, Target, JC Penney’s, Lowes, Marshalls, Bed Bath & Beyond, TJ Max, Victoria’s Secret, Nieman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Best Buy, Home Depot, Apple, Best Buy, Sears, K Mart, J.C Penney, Walmart, Costco and other retail chains for misclassifying employees as managers, erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, failing to pay for time spent on security checks, and otherwise failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. If you are the victim this practice call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online. We have offices in Chicago and Oak Brook near Wheaton and Bollingbrook.