HARTFORD, Conn. — Employees of Save-A-Lot grocery stores are awaiting final approval of a $4.5 million settlement offer in their class action overtime lawsuit. The settlement offer received preliminary approval in March. The grocery store assistant store managers (ASM) brought their lawsuit against Moran Foods LLC, the parent company for Save-A-Lot stores, in May 2012. They claimed the company intentionally failed to pay overtime and proper wages, first through misclassification, and then through company policies.
The Overtime Claim
According to Robert Kiefer, a Save-A-Lot ASM, the grocery store chain violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) with its method of calculating ASM overtime wages. The ASM’s initial complaints stemmed from the company’s allegedly policy of denying ASM’s overtime pay by misclassifying them as exempt. While the company changed its classification policy in 1998, which made ASMs nonexempt and entitled ASMs to overtime pay, the company allegedly continually failed to pay the proper amount of overtime. Kiefer and the other ASMs allege Save-A-Lot had a policy paying half time, not the mandatory time and a half, when the ASMs worked more than 40 hours a week. Moran Foods continues to deny the allegation, but has decided it is in the best interests of both parties to settle.
The Overtime Settlement
Both sides believe the current settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, which is what the courts look for when approving settlement offers. Under the current settlement terms, the average award amount will be around $1,800 per class member. The settlement is expected to include about 2,100 class members from 3 lawsuits, including Kiefer’s consolidated lawsuit for ASMs in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. It will also certify and include ASMs who have joined collective actions filed against the company in 11 states under state labor laws. If approved, the settlement will end both the state and federal claims of the consolidated class actions and the collective actions.
Virtually all employers are required to pay nonexempt employees overtime wages for any time worked beyond 40 hours in a single work week. Some states will require additional requirements like paying an extra hour of regular wages if an employee works more than 8 hours a day or requiring actual overtime wages for shifts lasting longer than 8 hours. But the basic requirement, both federally and in most states, is for employers to pay their nonexempt employees one and a half (1.5) times their regular pay for working more than 40 hours a week.
If you or someone you know is an Assistant Store Manager at Save-A-Lot or another grocery store chain and you believe your employer has misclassified your position or denied proper overtime pay, call our top-rated team of overtime pay lawyers today at (855) 754-2795 to discuss your rights. Or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form and our knowledgeable legal team will evaluate your case. If we accept your case, we will represent you under our No Fee Promise. This means there are no legal fees or costs unless you receive a settlement. However, there are strict time deadlines for filing or joining lawsuits so it is important to contact an attorney immediately.