Store Managers for Family Dollar Stores won a huge victory recently when the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a judgment in excess of $35,000,000 in their favor for unpaid overtime wages. Family Dollar Stores has dozens of stores in Connecticut. Family Dollar Stores had classified their Store Managers as exempt from overtime pay and did not pay them overtime premiums for hours worked in excess of forty in a week. The Court ruled that these employees were eligible for overtime pay because their primary duties were not managerial. Instead, “ample evidence supported a finding that the non-managerial tasks not only consumed 90% of a store managers time but were of equal or greater importance to a store’s functioing and success.”
Although this case was litigated in Alabama, it has repurcussions here in Connecticut because the law at issue, the federal Fair Fabor Standards Act, applies to employee here, too. Furthermore, the court distinguished a ruling from our Second Circuit in which Burger King Assistant Store Managers lost a similar claim. The Family Dollar Store Managers were more closely supervised by their District Managers and performed most of their managerial tasks before and after the store opened.
The take away here for employees and their lawyers is that Store Managers and Assistant Store Managers of retail chains may be entitled to be paid for overtime. Furthermore, they may be entitled to proceed as a collective action under the FLSA and could win millions!!