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BJ’s Sued in California Class Action for Alleged Unpaid Overtime by Managers Doing Alleged Non-Management Work

Managers are often required to step in to perform all sorts of jobs. If someone is lagging, the manager is often the one that has to pick up the slack. This is fine, so long as the manager is properly paid for all of the work she performs.

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), all employees working in the United States are entitled to be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked. For any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week, employees must be paid one and one-half times their normal hourly rate of pay. There are some exceptions to this rule, but the Act is very specific about the types of employees that qualify for the exception.

Managers, for example, can be exempt from overtime if they earn a salary of at least $23,600, they spend the majority of their time managing other employees, and they have direct say in the hiring and firing of the employees they manage. According to a recent class action wage and hour lawsuit, this is not the case for managers who work at BJ’s restaurant.

The lawsuit was filed by Tracy B., who worked at one of BJ’s California locations as a front assistant manager for more than a year. According to the lawsuit, Tracy was paid a salary and classified by BJ’s as exempt from overtime.

However, rather than spending most of her time managing other employees, Tracy alleges she spent more time “greeting and seating customers, providing customer service, busing tables, assisting with food preparation, cleaning, preparing take-out orders, and assisting servers and bartenders.” All of these are tasks that are normally performed by hourly employees that do not qualify for overtime exemption.

Tracy also alleges she was not permitted to make hiring and firing decisions on her own, a key factor in qualifying for overtime exempt status. Instead, she allegedly required permission from her superiors to hire or fire an employee.

Despite all these factors, Tracy alleges she regularly worked 50-60 hour weeks without getting paid for that extra time. She also alleges she was regularly required to work through her meal and rest breaks, and was not properly compensated for those breaks.

Under California labor law, all hourly employees are entitled to one paid rest break lasting at least 10 minutes for every four hours spent working. For every five hours worked, employees are entitled to an unpaid meal break lasting at least half an hour. For every day that one of these breaks is not taken, for any reason, the employee is entitled to one hour’s worth of wages, in addition to all wages earned that day.

If Tracy’s tasks had qualified her for the overtime exemption under the FLSA, she would not be able to claim these breaks as time that BJ’s was legally required to provide her. However, since Tracy spent the majority of her time performing the same jobs as hourly employees, she was entitled to these breaks under California labor law.The Chicago overtime lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims against large retail chains such as BJ’s, Jewel, Hienans, Aldi, 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 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.