Suit: Davine Vs The Golub Club.et al
Case Number: 3:14-cv-30136 in U.S. District Court for District of Massachusetts.
A class action from department managers working for Price Chopper Inc has been able to reach a $6.5 million settlement in compensation for unpaid overtime wages. According to a settlement proposal filed in Massachusetts federal court, the Price Chopper Inc supermarket chain failed to correctly pay managers for overtime wages in an attempt to deliberately reduce labor costs.
Violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act
The managers pursued the case as a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and various state wage and hour laws, and are eligible to receive an average amount of $2,200 if members of the Rule 23 class action, or $4,700 when filing as opt in plaintiffs in the FLSA as well.
Misclasssification of Workers
A total of 317 managers joined forces to file a consent to participate in the litigation proceedings, who previously were classified exempt from overtime wages by Price Chopper during the timeframe of July 2011 through to December 2016. The managers consist of both current and former managers that have been employed in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania branches. This case is commonly referred to as a misclassification case under the FLSA, where workers are paid a salary, but based on their actual job duties or other factors should have been properly labelled as non-exempt and paid overtime for hours over 40.
The managers issued a statement in a supporting memo of the proposed settlement stating that the defendants would likely have argued that differences amongst store location, store size and the eight departments in questions resulted in individualized issues, and potentially justified decertification of the collective. The settlement although not recouping full damages, was fair considering the risks of decertification. FLSA actions call for double damages plus attorney fees and various state statutes such as Massachusetts, can call for up to triple damages.,
The FLSA overtime class action lawsuit against Price Chopper Inc alleged that departmental managers and team leaders have been expected to work additional overtime hours alongside eligible overtime employees, completing the same hours of work and quality of work yet failing to be paid overtime wages accrued while working in excess of a forty hour work week.
Opt in Plaintiffs are eligible for a stake in a $1.5 million compensation pot, while attorney fees make up a third of the settlement funds and the remaining funds being dispersed amongst the Putative Class.
Recovery funds constitute forty-two percent of Putative Class members unpaid overtime at a half time rate if prevailing on merits and class certification, and Opt in Plaintiffs recovery rates are eighty percent of half time rate if succeeding with merits while avoiding decertification.
Failure to Pay Overtime
Shelly J. Davine, the lead plaintiff, claims she constantly worked in excess of a forty-five hour work week while failing to be paid overtime wages during 1983 – 2014. She alleged that both Price Chopper Inc and The Golub Corp who operate and own 135 nationwide grocery stores have a company policy of withholding overtime wages from eligible staff members including managerial staff.
It was also alleged that management employees and staff in leadership roles should not have been exempted from overtime wages as their workplace duties were duplicate in nature to workers who received overtime wages that didn’t hold the authority of hiring and firing over other staff members.
The lead plaintiff also stated that Price Chopper failed to efficiently record any hours undertaken by management employees, including excess hours worked before and after any scheduled shifts.
The FLSA claim was filed on behalf of multiple managerial workers and leaders who operated shifts in several sections of the supermarket chain including deli, seafood, grocery, front end and produce department and bakery staff that failed to receive overtime pay while working in excess of a forty hour workweek.
Separate claims have additionally been raised on behalf of the putative class for violations of the Massachusetts Wage Act and common law.