Depending on their responsibilities, managers can sometimes be held exempt from the premium overtime compensation of one and one-half times their normal hourly rate. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), overtime is defined as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. All hourly employees are entitled to one and one-half times their normal hourly rate of pay for all the overtime they work. There are some exceptions to the overtime law, but the FLSA is very specific about the types of employees that can qualify for the overtime exemption.
One of the categories of employees that can qualify for the overtime exemption is the executive category, which includes all workers who spend the majority of their time managing other employees. So long as the managers are able to discipline their employees and have significant say in the hiring and firing of those employees, they can qualify for the overtime exemption.
According to a recent wage and hour class action lawsuit against TJX Companies Inc., the company allegedly jumped the gun in denying its assistant store managers overtime compensation. TJX, which owns popular retail stores like Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and HomeGoods, recently agreed to settle the wage and hour lawsuit for $4.75 million.
The class action lawsuit is actually a combination of three different class action lawsuits that have all been consolidated into one. The consolidated wage and hour lawsuits were filed on behalf of assistant store managers who worked at multiple TJX locations.
The class action lawsuits allege the company regularly misclassified employees who were in training to become assistant store managers. During their training, the employees were allegedly required to work ten hours a day, five days a week. Their tasks allegedly included stocking, processing merchandise, cleaning, and other responsibilities that were not related to managing the store. Instead, these tasks are generally performed by hourly employees and not responsibilities that qualify for the overtime exemption.
TJX insists it did not do anything illegal, and that it is settling the wage and hour lawsuit in order to avoid the expenses and hassle associated with fighting a long court battle.
The larger a class action lawsuit, the more time it is likely to take in the courts, driving up the attorneys’ fees and legal costs associated with fighting a legal battle. Rather than spend the time and money on the legal battle for an uncertain outcome, TJX is better off settling the lawsuit outside of court. They also get to save face by avoiding the possibility of a conviction against them.
The class members also benefit from a settlement because they get to collect money that is assured, rather than risk a jury ruling against them. If the jury ruled in favor of TJX, the plaintiffs would be stuck with all the costs of bringing the lawsuit and have nothing to show for their trouble.
The class action settlement covers only the training period for the retailer’s assistant store managers. Now the settlement needs only to be approved by the court before TJX can start sending out checks to class members.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, TJ Max, Victoria’s Secret, Nieman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Best Buy, Home Depot, HomeGoods, Apple, Best Buy, Sears, K Mart, J.C Penney, Walmart, Costco, PetSmart, REI 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 one of our offices near Evanston and Joliet at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.