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Petco Sued By Assistant Managers in Class Action for Unpaid Overtime

The purpose of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is to guarantee fair wages for all employees working within the United States. Part of that is ensuring that all workings are paid no less than the federal minimum wage for all time spent working. The Act also requires that all employees are paid one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all time spent working in excess of eight hours a day or forty hours a week. The federal statute does provide exceptions to this rule, but it is very specific about the kinds of employees that can qualify for the exemption.

To begin with, the employee must be paid an annual salary of at least $23,600 and must be considered an administrative, executive, or professional employee. Rather than allowing employers to arbitrarily label their workers under one of these categories, the FLSA has specific job requirements which an employee must perform to qualify as exempt from overtime compensation.

In order to qualify for the administrative category, an employee must perform primarily office work and provide administrative assistance directly to an executive. For the executive category, an employee must spend the majority of her time managing other employees. Managers are often classified as exempt from overtime compensation under the executive category, even if they do not meet all of the above requirements. The professional category consists of employees who must have a particular set of skills or level of education in order to perform their job, such as doctors, lawyers, actors, musicians, and artists.

According to a recent class action wage and hour lawsuit against Petco, the store allegedly required assistant managers to perform the same duties as hourly workers, but did not provide them with the requisite overtime compensation. The FLSA contains a statute of limitations, which requires a lawsuit to be filed within two years of the violation. Petco filed a motion to dismiss the overtime lawsuit, based on the fact that the plaintiffs had exceeded the statute of limitations.

However, there is another statute of limitations that lasts three years if the plaintiffs can provide evidence that the violations were done willfully and intentionally. Since the plaintiffs were within this statute of limitations, Judge M. James Lorenz initially granted Petco’s motion to dismiss in part, but also gave the plaintiffs a chance to amend their complaint to show that Petco’s alleged violations of the FLSA were intentional.

The plaintiffs came back with an amended complaint which alleged that Petco intentionally underfunded its labor budgets, resulting in assistant store managers regularly performing the same tasks as hourly, nonexempt employees, without receiving the proper overtime compensation for that work. The plaintiffs also allege that Petco managers witnessed assistant managers performing nonexempt tasks.

After the amended complaint was filed, Judge Lorenz denied Petco’s motion to dismiss, saying that because of the size of Petco’s operations, “it is plausible that Petco knew the underfunded labor budgets would cause assistant store managers to perform nonexempt tasks and result in its FLSA labor violation.”

The Chicago overtime lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims against large retail chains such as Urban Outfitters, GAP, Abercrombie & Fitch, Limited, Forever 21, Macy’s, Target, JC Penney’s, Petco, Lowes, Best Buy, Home Depot, Apple, Best Buy, Sears, K Mart, J.C Penney, Walmart 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 Markham, Skokie and Cicero 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.