“The trick of trying to apply a managerial-sounding title to a worker in an attempt to avoid overtime pay is just about as old as the wheel itself.” This is according to lead counsel for plaintiffs in a Washington State unpaid overtime class action case against chain tire seller Les Schwab.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides specific responsibilities which an employee must have in order to qualify for overtime exemption. Despite these very clear provisions in the law, employers still seem to think that, by simply classifying their employees as managers or administrative assistants, regardless of their responsibilities, they can get away with making these employees work overtime without pay.
Such is allegedly the case with Les Schwab Tire Centers Inc. According to the class action lawsuit filed against it, Les Schwab allegedly misclassified some of its workers as assistant managers, then made them work 12-hour days, six days a week. Because of their managerial title, Les Schwab marked the employees as ineligible for overtime. Many employees are unaware of the rights they are provided by the FLSA. This is why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable employment attorney.
The lawsuit alleges that, despite the title of assistant manager, Les Schwab regularly assigned these employees menial tasks, which would normally go to hourly workers. These tasks include cleaning the back room or stock room, changing light bulbs, and sweeping the parking lot.
According to the lawsuit, Schwab suspended its alleged illegal business practice of exempting assistant managers from overtime pay beginning January 1, 2013. The assistant managers who worked for the tire company in the state of Washington are now filing a lawsuit seeking the overtime pay that they allegedly earned before Les Schwab changed its policy.
Les Schwab allegedly follows the same business practices throughout all of its more than 600 stores. As a result, the class could potentially consist of hundreds, if not thousands, of current and former assistant managers.
Les Schwab may have changed its policy of misclassifying assistant managers as a result of a previous wage and hour lawsuit it faced in Oregon. In February 2012, a jury in Multnomah County, Ore., Circuit Court found Les Schwab guilty of forcing more than 200 assistant store managers in Oregon to work overtime in violation of Oregon’s wage laws.
Despite these lawsuits, Les Schwab continues to insist that it has done nothing wrong. Dale Thompson, chief marketing officer for Les Schwab Tire Centers, said that the company “has taken pride in performance, value and honesty. Our assistant managers play a vital role in managing our stores and providing world class customer service.
“Les Schwab Tire Centers firmly believes that it has complied with all applicable wage regulations. We are committed to creating a culture of loyalty, hard work and promotion from within.”
Unfortunately, the jury ruling in Oregon last year says otherwise and a Washington court will be the one to determine whether the dealership floowed by all wage and hour laws in the state of Washington.
The Chicago overtime lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims against large retail chains such as Apple, Best Buy, Sears, K Mart, J.C Penney, Jewel, Dominick’s, Aldi, BJ’s Wholesale Club, 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 Arlington Hts. and Joliet. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Rolling Meadows and Schaumburg 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.