An operator for Panera Bread in Ohio is on the hook for millions in unpaid wages. The Panera Bread chain, owned by Covelli Enterprises Inc., operated more than 300 locations throughout Ohio and allegedly improperly classified more than 600 assistant managers as exempt from receiving overtime pay. The class and collective action lawsuit that was brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and Ohio labor laws last year, was recently settled and approved by a federal judge for $4.6 million.
The 614 Panera Bread assistant managers that will stand to benefit from this award, spent most of their shifts completing manual labor and providing customer service, as opposed to administrative and managerial tasks. Under the FLSA, it is your job duties and not your job title that legally dictates if you are eligible for overtime. The judge that approved the settlement noted that due to the assistant managers’ extensive involvement with customer service as well as manual work, they should not have been considered exempt from receiving overtime pay. Additionally, the amount of training uniformity and corporate micromanagement from Panera Bread experienced by the assistant managers spoke to their minimal level of professional authority.
As indicated by this Panera Bread settlement, many people who are improperly classified as exempt from overtime pay may actually be entitled to receive back pay for unpaid overtime. If you find yourself logging long hours regardless of your job title, you may be entitled to receive compensation for overtime. However, knowing what duties make you eligible for overtime isn’t always clear. A consultation with an employment attorney may be able to clarify if you have any claims and if you are potentially owed wages. Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP offers a free and confidential phone consultation with one of our available representatives. Call us at (212) 300-0375 for your consultation or visit our website to read additional information regarding your rights.