BOISE — On the heels of a potential $1 billion acquisition by Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Cos., northeastern grocery store chain Price Chopper looks poised to settle an unpaid overtime lawsuit potentially worth millions of dollars. The claim, brought on behalf of hundreds of current and former “team leaders” claiming the defendant improperly classified them as overtime exempt in a ruse to avoid paying overtime wages and suppress payroll expenses.
While the defendant denies the acquisition rumors, what is not disputable is the request sent to the judge overseeing the case asking to postpone a status hearing to allow the two-sides more time to negotiate a potential settlement. Attorneys for each party recently met with a mediator and although no settlement came out of those talks, reports indicate substantial progress to resolving the matter were achieved.
Employees Claim Defendant Intentionally Misclassified them as “Overtime Exempt”
Filed in 2014, the suit claims employer’s designated as “team leaders” and “department managers” in the deli, seafood, and bakery departments routinely worked 45 to 50 hours per week but were never paid overtime wages for their time spent on the job above the overtime threshold. However, the plaintiffs’ lawsuit claims their job duties did not coincide with the overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act and should be compensated for these lost wages.
Furthermore, the plaintiffs claim the defendant intentionally misclassified these workers and should therefore be liable for three years of unpaid overtime, the maximum allowed under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The court may also see fit to award interest on the back pay as well as other penalties equal to the amount of lost wages in order to adequately compensate the plaintiffs for their lost income.
While it is unclear how many claimants could join the class action overtime pay lawsuit, with 130 Price Chopper locations around the country the potential class and payout could be substantial. Some reports indicate a conservative settlement estimate of $4 million, not counting interest, penalties, and attorneys’ fees.
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Our office will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. Because strict time limitations apply for filing these types of claims, we advise you contact our experienced unpaid overtime wage attorneys at your earliest convenience and preserve your legal rights.