A popular convenience store chain in Pennsylvania, Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc.,has just agreed to resolve claims of unpaid wages for almost $3 million. Employees that worked as Operations Managers for Love’s throughout Pennsylvania filed a class action lawsuit back in 2017 alleging they were owed overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). These Operations Managers claimed that the convenience store chain incorrectly classified them as exempt from overtime pay when working over 40 hours per work week.
The lawsuit alleges that even though these Operations Managers were in high-ranking positionsthey should not have been exempt from overtime pay because they spent at least 90% of their time on nonexempt tasks. These tasks included but weren’t limited to: working cash registers, stocking shelves, cleaning and straightening the store, cleaning the bathrooms, taking out the trash, assisting customers, organizing the store according to detailed corporate directives, unpacking merchandise, and unloading trucks. They further alleged their primary job duties did not materially differ from the duties of other non-exempt hourly paid employees. They also could not hire, fire, discipline, direct the work of other employees or exercise meaningful independent judgement and discretion. As part of the $2.95 million settlement, nearly 400 Operations Managers stand to benefit. Eligible Operations Managers include those who worked at Love’s between February 2015 and February 2018.
It is important to remember that under the FLSA, your job title does not dictate overtime eligibility but rather your job duties. If you find yourself completing a lot of hands-on tasks like other hourly non-exempt employees, you may actually be eligible to receive overtime pay when working over 40 hours per week. The retail industry, such as the convenience store chain in this matter, often misclassify employees as salaried and exempt from overtime but still have them complete similar job functions to other hourly employees for most of their shifts. If you believe you may have experienced something similar, do not hesitate to call our firm, Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP, for a free and confidential consultation at (212) 300-0375 or visit our website for additional information.