Did Staples Misclassifies Managers In Order To Stiff Them On OT Pay?

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Did Staples Misclassifies Managers In Order To Stiff Them On OT Pay?

 news 2015-09-10 at 11:13:03 am Views: 265
  • #43578

    Did Staples Misclassifies Managers In Order To Stiff Them On OT Pay?
    Staples Misclassifies Managers To Stiff On OT, Suit Says

    By Adam Sege
    Law360, New York (September 8, 2015, 5:39 PM ET) — A Staples Inc. general manager filed a putative class action against the office supply chain in California state court Friday, claiming it stiffs supervisors on overtime pay and mandatory breaks.
    Fred Wesson, who has worked as a general manger at multiple Staples stores in the Los Angeles area, claims the company has classified his position as exempt from overtime restrictions even though many of the duties general managers perform don’t qualify as exempt under California law.

    By paying general managers a set salary without overtime compensation, Staples is carrying out "a uniform and systematic scheme of wage abuse against their salaried employees in California," the suit claims.

    Wesson’s complaint states he has been working as a general manager since about August 2004. He seeks to represent a class of general managers who claim to regularly spend more than half their time at work on duties performed by nonexempt employees such as customer service, stocking shelves and taking out the trash.

    Because of the menial tasks and because general managers do not regularly decide “matters of significance” or make hiring and firing decisions, they do not meet California’s standards for exempt employees, the suit claims.

    General managers regularly work overtime but are not paid for their additional work hours, the suit alleges. Wesson and other general managers have also been denied the 10-minute rest breaks and 30-minute meal breaks employers are required to give nonexempt employees working shifts of at least four and five hours, respectively, according to the complaint.

    The suit also alleges that Staples has denied general managers itemized wage statements, and that when employees leave the company, Staples does not promptly pay them for time they had worked prior to resigning or being fired.

    Wesson is suing for unspecified damages on behalf of all general managers in California the company has employed since 2010. In addition to Staples Inc., the complaint lists as plaintiffs Staples The Office Superstore LLC and as-yet-unidentified individuals who could be found liable.

    The suit follows others that have accused the company of wage and overtime violations.  

    In 20007, Staples agreed to pay $38 million as part of a settlement of a lawsuit claiming the company had misclassified assistant managers in California as exempt. In a separate global settlement in 2010, Staples agreed to pay $42 million to resolve wage-and-hour collective actions also claiming the company misclassified assistant managers. The company did not admit wrongdoing in connection with either settlement.

    Mark Cautela, director of corporate communications for Staples, said in an email the company does not comment on pending litigation.

    A representative for Wesson could not immediately be reached for comment.

    Wesson is being represented by Jeffrey K. Compton and Daria Dub Carlson of Markun Zusman Freniere & Compton LLP, and Raymond P. Boucher of Boucher LLP.

    Counsel information for Staples was not immediately available.

    The case is Fred Wesson et al. v. Staples Inc. et al., case number BC593889, in the Superior Court of the State of California, Los Angeles County.

    –Editing by Richard McVay and Rebecca Flanagan.