HARTFORD, Conn. — A group of store managers for Payless Shoesource Inc., in Florida filed a class action wage suit against their employer, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The suit is attempting to collect for the unpaid wages of approximately 3,000 Payless managers. It is not the first FLSA suit against payless — over the years, the company has faced several claims of FLSA violations, the most recent of which is a suit in Connecticut that resulted in a $2.9 million settlement of a class action claim involving 2,197 plaintiffs.
Fluctuating Exempt Status
According to the suit, the plaintiffs were illegally denied overtime wages due to a fluctuation in their exempt status. The suit indicated that Payless would conduct regular audits on the work hours of store managers to determine if they satisfied the requirements of exemption from FLSA. During these audits, the company would find out if a manager had worked enough hours as a supervisor to not receive overtime, and if they had not, they would switch their employment status to non-exempt and begin paying the manager overtime. However, that overtime pay did not sufficiently account for weekly hours in excess of 45 that a manager had already worked during the audit period.
The plaintiff argued that Payless, in beginning to pay overtime only after the audit, has violated FLSA by not paying employees for overtime earned in the prior periods of time they failed to meet the 80 hours of labor standard.
Payless Recording Policy
In addition to implementing a policy that creates a fluctuating exempt status, the plaintiffs allege that Payless had a uniform policy of not allowing managers to record their overtime hours. Payless apparently informed managers that overtime hours that were recorded would negatively affect store budgets and a manager’s overall performance evaluation because it indicated they were not performing their duties fast enough. The suit states that this policy of encouraging off-the-clock work results from intentionally setting staffing at insufficient levels and setting unrealistic budgets.
Employers should make sure that their policies do not inadvertently deprive employees of legally required minimum wage or overtime pay. You should call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you feel that you have a valid wage claim. Our top-rated team of wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action. We will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. There are strict time limitations for filing, so it is important that you call our experienced attorneys today.