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Staples Sued by Assistant Managers for Failure to Pay Overtime

Although the title of manager is often a salaried position that most people view as a step up from a job as an hourly employee, the reality is many workers with the title of manager spend their days performing many of the same tasks as their hourly colleagues. That’s why the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has specific requirements for the types of employees that can be considered exempt from overtime.

The FLSA defines three types of categories of employees that can legally be held exempt from overtime: administrative, executive, and professional. Managers often fit into the executive category, but not always.

To make sure employers don’t simply label their workers as managers and refuse to pay them overtime, the FLSA requires employees in the executive category to spend the majority of their time at work managing their employees, be able to discipline those employees, and have significant say in the hiring and firing of the employees they manage. A worker with the title of manager who does not fit all these qualifications is entitled to one and one-half times her normal hourly rate for all time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week.

Fred a general manager at a Staples outlet store in Los Angeles, California, recently filed a class action wage and hour lawsuit against his employer for allegedly misclassifying general managers as exempt from overtime. Fred alleges he and other managers spent more than half their time at work performing non-managerial tasks, including stocking store shelves, helping customers, and taking out the trash. The managers also were allegedly not allowed to make hiring or firing decisions. Despite all these claims, when the general managers allegedly worked overtime, Staples allegedly refused to pay them for that extra time.

In addition to the FLSA mandates on overtime, each state has its own labor laws regulating things like minimum wage and overtime. Although the FLSA does not require employers to give their workers breaks, California labor law does require employers to provide their workers with regular breaks throughout the day. But the law only applies to hourly, non-exempt employees.

Fred alleges he and other managers at Staples were denied their meal and rest breaks throughout the day, despite the fact they were eligible for the breaks under California labor law.

Fred further alleges Staples failed to provide him and other general managers with itemized pay stubs and wage statements. The FLSA requires employers to provide all their workers with wage statements that accurately list the pay period, how many hours the employee worked in that pay period, the employee’s hourly rate, the total wages earned in the pay period, and all deductions made from the employee’s pay, including taxes, health insurance, and Social Security. 

Failure to provide employees with accurate, itemized wage statements can be viewed as a way to try to avoid properly paying workers. Itemized wage statements provide employees with a record of how many hours they worked and how much they earned. Failure to provide employees with this record looks suspicious and some courts give out severe fines as punishment.

Fred is seeking to represent a class of all employees who worked as general managers for Staples in the state of California since 2010.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, 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 Glenview, Niles and Skokie at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.