Class action attorneys are intimately familiar with the important step of class certification in class action lawsuits. In many cases, once a class action attains certification, the lawsuit results in a settlement before reaching the trial stage. Our Chicago class action attorneys have observed that this is due in large part to the fact that the proceedings to certify a class under new Supreme Court decisions often require addressing some but not all merits related issues and once a class is certified, the issues have been clarified enough that the risks convince both sides that a settlement makes sense.
With that in mind, the class of assistant store managers for Dollar Tree have recently attained a mixed blessing. A judge in Colorado has ruled against Dollar Tree’s arguments against class certification, allowing the lawsuit to proceed. However, the judge stopped just short of certifying the class. The attorneys for Dollar Tree think that this might mean that a favorable ruling for them is pending in the next step of the certification process.
The lawsuit alleges that the Dollar Tree retail chain has been working under a combination of policies which, when taken together, result in their assistant store managers regularly working without pay. The lawsuit also alleges that the assistant store managers were regularly required to work in excess of 40 hours per week without the requisite overtime compensation. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are required to provide eligible overtime employees with one and one-half times their normal hourly wages for every hour of work in excess of eight hours a day or 40 hours a week.
The lawsuit alleges that Dollar Tree has a policy that at least two people must be working at the store at any one time. However, assistant store managers were allegedly regularly scheduled to work with only one other person. This meant that they were allegedly unable to take their mandatory breaks without violating the company’s policy. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are required to provide employees with one uninterrupted meal break of at least 30 minutes for every five hours of work. For each day that the employee misses a break, the law requires the employer to provide the employee with one hour’s worth of their normal hourly wages. This was allegedly not provided in the case of Dollar Tree’s assistant store managers.
The lawsuit further alleges that assistant store managers were required to perform certain tasks, such as making deposits to the bank, after having clocked out. The result being that they were allegedly regularly performing work for which they were not paid.
Dollar has proven that the allegations are false at this stage of the case. It is arguing that the assistant store managers do not have the right to bring the lawsuit as a class action. Dollar Tree would prefer that the assistant store managers file their complaints separately. Since the payout for each assistant store manager is likely to be fairly low, it is improbable that all of the assistant store managers would file individual complaints if the class were to be decertified. Thus, Dollar Tree could expect to pay less in legal fees and damages if the class action did not attain certification.
The Chicago class action attorneys and Chicago overtime lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims against large retail chains such as Dollar Tree, 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 Addison and Mt. 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.