As this blog has discussed, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires any bonuses or other compensation an employee might receive to be included in their regular rate of pay when calculating overtime. According to a class action lawsuit, Aeropostale allegedly regularly failed to do this for its non-exempt employees.
The lead plaintiff, Portia Daniels, filed a lawsuit against Aeropostale Inc., in Novemeber 2012 for allegedly under-paying overtime to non-exempt store employees by failing to include bonuses in their regular rate of pay. Daniels, who has been working as a non-exempt store manager for Aeropostale, alleges that she has regularly worked in excess of 40 hours per week without receiving the proper overtime compensation as stipulated by the FLSA.
Daniels filed the lawsuit after she received a letter from Aeropostale in March 2012 which referenced a 2011 class action lawsuit. The lawsuit was Sankey v. Aeropostale and it accused the clothing company of failing to include bonus pay in the regular rate of pay when calculating overtime hours for California managers who worked between 2007 and 2012. The letter said that Aeropostale had found that overtime had potentially been under-calculated at times. Enclosed with the letter was a check for the amount of the under-payment.
In her own lawsuit, Daniels points to the statements from Aeropostale’s payroll director from deposition in the Sankey case. According to Daniels, these statements demonstrated that Aeropostale had a uniform practice of under-paying overtime. The lawsuit alleges that this uniform practice affected thousands of employees nationwide.
Aeropostale argued that the payroll director’s testimony was specific to the Sankey case and to California store managers only.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup sided with Daniels though, and agreed to conditionally certify a class of all current and former non-exempt Aeropostale employees nationwide who had worked overtime since November 2009 and received a non-discretionary bonus.
Judge Alsup specified in his certification order that the key issue in a Daniels’s case is not whether Aeropostale failed to pay overtime at all, “but whether they failed to pay in a timely manner.” The judge says in his order, “Potential plaintiffs may have been under-compensated as early as November 2009 but failed to receive their corresponding overtime adjustment until 2011 or later, when defendants discovered the error during the Sankey litigation”.
The Chicago overtime lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims against large retail chains such as Aeropostale, J.C Penney, Walmart, Sears 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, 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.
The Illinois overtime attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have decades of experience fighting for wage earner’s rights. We have a team of overtime attorneys who focus on nationwide class action lawsuits and work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and prosecute claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Schaumburg and Mount Prospect. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Oak Lawn and Riverside overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers misclassify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.
The Chicago Overtime Law Center is based in Chicago, and represents clients throughout the country who have not been paid for the overtime hours that they worked. If you believe that you are owed overtime wages, contact one of our Chicago class action attorneys by phone at (312) 869-4095 or through our online form.