In 2009 the northeast retailer Ocean State Job Lot was sued by a class of Assistant Managers claiming that they should be paid overtime. They are classified as “exempt executives” by Ocean State and not paid any extra wages when they work past 40 hours in a week. That case was filed in Connecticut federal court and is still pending.
Just a few months ago, a new and similar lawsuit was filed by another Assistant Manager. This time, the lawsuit is in Boston, Massachusetts. Like the first case, this one claims unpaid overtime wages under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Read the Complaint filed with the Court here. This case is being handled by the Boston firm of Lichten and Liss-Riordan and the Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore in Hartford, Connecticut.
Retail Assistant Managers have been bringing these types of claims for years and have been successful most of the time. A class of assistant managers sued Staples several years ago and won a trial in a New Jersey court. The claim usually is that the assistant managers are doing enough management work to be considered “executives” under the law. They claim that they spend most of their time unloading trucks, stocking shelves and ringing the cash register.
This case is no different. In it, the plaintiffs allege that they spend most of their time pushing freight (a term used by Ocean State to describe the process of getting the merchandise from the trucks, in the store and on the shelves).
The lawsuit is pleaded as a collective action, which means that soon the plaintiffs’ lawyers will file a motion with the court seeking permission to send a notice to all assistant managers at Ocean State around the northeast. Any of them can join simply by filling out a consent form and returning it to the plaintiffs’ lawyers for filing with the court.