On March 14, 2014, a group of Payless shoe store employees, specifically Store Managers and Store Leaders, filed a complaint in a Connecticut federal court alleging that they had been misclassified under the Fair Labor Standards Act and therefore wrongfully denied overtime pay. (Shallin et al. v. Payless Shoesource, Inc. et al., Case No. 3:14-cv-00335-RNC.) These employees claimed that they “work[ed] alone as sales clerk[s],” performing “menial laborious tasks, including, operating cash registers, cleaning, stocking, shelving and inventory, answering telephones, greeting customers, pricing, [and] handling displays.” Often, these “managers” were the only employees present in small stores, and therefore could not qualify as managers- under the law, exempt managers must supervise at least two full time employees.
The case was reported settled on December 10, 2014, and on February 17, 2015, the parties asked the court to approve the settlement. The settlement could apply to about 3,000 employees in about 3,500 stores across the country. The law firm representing the managers, Feldman Morgado, has set up a webpage providing information about the case to these managers at http://www.paylessmanagerandleaderovertimeclaim.net/.
The Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore has also seen instances in which small stores employ just one or two people for long hours and varied job duties but classify them as managers. These companies benefit from calling these employees managers and not paying overtime, even though they don’t “customarily and regularly” supervise two or more full time employees. It’s not fair to the employees, who are stuck in the store helping customers and maintaining the store’s appearance for as many hours as the district manager tells them to be there. This is cheaper for the company than either paying these employees overtime, or assigning more employees to the store and giving the manager true managerial duties. It is, however, also illegal.
Best of luck to the plaintiffs in this case!