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Wal-Mart Supervisors Claim They Are Not Exempt and Must be Paid Overtime

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines overtime as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week and requires employers to pay all their hourly workers one and one-half times their normal hourly wage for all overtime worked. The FLSA does provide allowances for certain types of employees to be held exempt from the overtime requirement, but the law is very specific about the requirements employees need to meet in order to be classified as overtime exempt.

One of those requirements is that employees must be paid an annual salary of at least $23,600. That’s more than the federal minimum wage, assuming the employees don’t work overtime. But if they work enough overtime that their total hours divided by their salary comes out to less than minimum wage, and it turns out they were improperly classified as overtime exempt, the employer could face allegations of failure to pay minimum wage, as well as overtime violations.

Possibly the most commonly misclassified category of overtime exemption is the executive category. In order to qualify for this category, employees must spend the majority of their time at work managing other employees and have direct say in the hiring and firing of those employees.

In order to cut costs, many companies have classified their managers, assistant managers, and supervisors as overtime exempt, regardless of whether they meet all the requirements for the overtime exemption. If these employees spend most of their time at work performing the same tasks as the hourly workers they’re supposed to be managing, it qualifies as a violation of the FLSA’s overtime requirements, and possibly minimum wage requirements.

According to a recent wage and hour class action lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania, Wal-Mart has been allegedly misclassifying its supervisors as exempt from overtime, then allegedly requiring them to work so many overtime hours the supervisors were paid a lower hourly rate than the employees they were supposed to be supervising. According to the plaintiffs, the supervisors were allegedly required to come in on their days off to perform the same menial tasks as the hourly employees they supervised.

One supervisor’s deposition alleges his co-manager told him he was required to come in on his day off. The co-manager allegedly said coming in on his day off was voluntary, but that if he chose not to volunteer, he would be told to come in.

The current wage and hour class action lawsuit is actually a combination of two different wage and hour lawsuits against Wal-Mart. The first was filed by Andrew S. in August of 2013 and the second was filed by James P. in February of 2014. The two complaints involved in the two lawsuits were so similar that they were combined into one in May of 2015.

The plaintiffs have asked the court to certify their case as a class action, alleging the practice is widespread throughout Wal-Mart and the state of Pennsylvania. The plaintiffs estimate the proposed class could include as many as 2,300 current and former employees who have worked for Wal-Mart as assistant managers during the eligible class period.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, Burlington Coat Factory, 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 Berwyn and Melrose Park  at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.