An Assistant Manager in Connecticut has sued CVS Caremark Corporation for unpaid overtime in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. In her complaint, she claims that she was illegally classified as exempt and denied overtime pay despite the fact that her primary duty was not management. She has included in her suit a claim on behalf of other Assistant Managers around the country, since they, like her, have been classified as exempt pursuant to the same illegal policy. If her request is granted, CVS Assistant Managers around the country will receive notice of this lawsuit and be invited to join.
This lawsuit follows on the heels of similar claims against Family Dollar Stores and Staples. Nationwide retailers frequently classify assistant managers and managers as exempt without giving them enough management authority for them to fairly and legally be considered managers under the law.
The most recent ruling on this issue comes from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In its ruling upholding a $35,000,000 verdict against Family Dollar, that court wrote:
“The overwhelming evidence showed that Plaintiff store managers exercise little discretion and spend 80 to 90% of their time performing manual labor tasks, such as stocking shelves, running the cash registers, unloading trucks, and cleaning the parking lots, floors, and bathrooms. Even as to the assigned management tasks, such as paperwork, bank deposits, and petty cash, the store manual strictly prescribes them. And district managers closely scrutinize store managers to ensure compliance with the manual and corporate directives.”
For these reasons, the jury’s verdict was affirmed. Many other retailers follow a similar business plan which usually entails such severe micromanagement that the “manager” doesn’t truly manage as his or her primary duty.