Retail stores have had to deal with a slew of wage and hour lawsuits ranging from everything from misclassification to failure to pay for the time spent waiting to have their bags checked before they are allowed to leave. The latest is an overtime lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch that alleges the popular clothing store misclassified its sales and stockroom employees as exempt from overtime compensation, even though the the employees allegedly did not qualify for overtime exemption.
Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are required to pay all hourly workers one and one-half times the workers’ normal hourly rates for all time spent working in excess of eight hours a day or forty hours a week. The Act does provide exceptions to this rule, but it is very specific about the kinds of employees that are eligible for the exception.
Under federal law, administrative, executive, and professional employees are not entitled to overtime compensation. Administrative employees are workers who perform primarily office work and provide assistance directly to an executive. Executives spend the majority of their time managing other employees and must be able to discipline their employees, as well as have significant say in the hiring and firing of those employees. Professional employees are those who require a particular set of skills or level of education in order to perform their jobs. They include actors, artists, musicians, doctors, and lawyers.
The lawsuit was filed by Samantha Jones who started working as a brand representative for Abercrombie & Fitch and for Hollister, another clothing store chain owned by Abercrombie & Fitch. She eventually worked her way up to a managerial position and she claims she was an hourly employee who was entitled to overtime. However, she alleges Abercrombie & Fitch has a “uniform policy and practice” of refusing to pay employees for all of the hours they spend working. She further alleges that the company failed to accurately record and pay her and other employees for all of their time spent working, including overtime.
The lawsuit also alleges that employees of Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister have “call-in” shifts, or shifts in which they have to call the store one hour beforehand to see if the store needs them to come in. They are required to keep these blocks of time open, but they do not get paid if the store does not need them to work the shift.
Abercrombie & Fitch denies all of the claims and insists it did nothing wrong.
Abercrombie & Fitch moved to have the wage and hour lawsuit moved to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA). The Act was designed to prevent plaintiffs in class action lawsuits from filing their lawsuit in the court that would be most favorable to their side (also known as “forum shopping”). Under the Act, defendants can move to have class action lawsuits relocated to federal court if the lawsuit meets certain requirements. Among these requirements are having a sufficient number of class members located in states other than the one the lawsuit was filed in, and involving claims of at least $5 million.
Abercrombie & Fitch argued that the wage and hour lawsuit belonged in federal court because the plaintiffs were asking for more than $5 million and because the wage and hour accusations fall under the FLSA, which is a federal law. The class action lawsuit was moved to federal court in mid-October.The Chicago overtime lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims against large retail chains such as 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, 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, 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.