ISLIP, N.Y. — Just weeks after T.J. Maxx assistant managers filed a class action overtime pay claim in Florida federal court, a New York federal judge has denied a request for class status in a separate T.J. Maxx assistant manager overtime wage claim. According to the judge’s decision, the circumstances of each of the potential class members at the near 4,000 T.J. Maxx locations included in this lawsuit differed too greatly for one class action to properly address each situation. The denial of the class status means the potential plaintiffs will have to pursue the alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) individually or possibly in a smaller class action with an established factual nexus, or wherein the circumstances of the assistant managers are more similar.
The New York Claim
Mohammed Ahmed, who filed the lawsuit, claims even though he had the position title of “assistant manager” he was non-exempt from overtime pay laws. Ahmed believes his duties as an assistant manager did not meet FLSA standards. He alleges the managerial responsibilities were completed under the supervision and direction of other managers. And, according to his overtime claim, Ahmed believes he and the other assistant managers are similarly situated because they spent the majority of their time performing nonexempt work. However, the judge determined, based on the evidence provided, that the other assistant managers’ nonexempt activities were too varied from each other.
The court looked at four assistant managers who had opted-in to the class action prior to the court’s decision. The four were assistant general managers from locations across the country. But, while Ahmed considered himself to be nonexempt, the other four potential plaintiffs considered themselves management, according to the judge. Based on their testimony, which the judge reviewed for this class certification determination, the other managers each considered themselves to be managers for different reasons. Three of the assistant managers claimed to have made recommendations during the hiring process, while the other claimed to be in charge of staffing responsibilities. So, even if the assistant managers spent the majority of their time performing nonexempt duties, these managerial responsibilities and greater discretion could be sufficient for exempt status. And they differ noticeably from Ahmed’s situation.
Class actions can make overtime pay claims more time and cost effective and can prevent conflicting outcomes at trial. However, not all overtime pay violations are suited for class action status, as this case illustrates. If you believe you have been denied overtime wages, whether as an individual or as a class, contact our experienced team of overtime pay lawyers today at (855) 754-2795 to discuss your situation. 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.