On August 18, 2009, Omar Morrison filed a law suit against Ocean State Job Lot, Inc. and Ocean State Jobbers, Inc. claiming that he had been misclassified as an employee that was exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Mr. Morrison is suing on behalf of all current and former Ocean State Job Lot assistant store managers at all Ocean State’s stores in the Northeast. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employees are entitled to overtime unless they are bonafide executives or administrative employees.
Ocean State will have to prove that Morrison and other Assistant Store Managers have management as their primary duty.
Ocean State Job Lot’s attorneys initially filed a motion to dismiss the action on the theory that they are Rhode Island corporations that do not conduct business in Connecticut. Attorney Richard Hayber, who represents Mr. Morrison, stated in an interview, “The instances where a parent company can successfully make a claim that it isn’t an employer of all its companies employees is when it is a passive holding company of the stock of these other companies. That isn’t the case here. Ocean State’s CEO, Marc Perlman, and his executive staff, write the procedures that are enforced in all the stores. The corporate offices are connected in real time to all the stores and they do the hiring for the stores. Mr. Perlman even records a Friday voice message that’s heard every week in all the stores by the employees. The subsidiaries are LLCs or corporations which all have Ocean State Jobbers, Inc. listed as the primary contact. These companies don’t have independent procedures, independent control.”
Ocean State’s motion to dismiss was denied as moot by the Connecticut District Court. Any Ocean State Job Lot assistant managers who are interested in joining this action should contact Attorney Hayber at his web site. A consent form to join the action can also be found here.