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Walmart Faces Manager Overtime Pay Lawsuit

PITTSBURGH — Store managers at Pennsylvania Wal-Mart locations may continue with their proposed class action overtime pay lawsuit. The assistant store managers alleged, in two separate lawsuits, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. denied them the overtime pay they had earned. The lawsuits together claim the company violated Pennsylvania state labor law and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) with their wage practices. Wal-Mart had recently argued that the store managers should not be able to continue with their class action, but a Pennsylvania federal judge denied the company’s request to dismiss both of the lawsuits.

The Claims Against Wal-Mart

James Paolicelli and Andrew Swank claim Wal-Mart denied overtime to themselves and to more than 1,000 similarly situated assistant store managers in Pennsylvania when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. The two plaintiffs filed their claims separately, with Swank filing a state law claim in August 2013 and Paolicelli filing a FLSA claim in February 2014. The two claims have not been consolidated, but they are expected to be combined soon. In their lawsuits, the former assistant managers described in detail their personal experiences of the duties they were assigned, the information Wal-Mart provided them in assigning their duties, and other details they saw or heard while working at the stores. The level of detail provided strengthened their claims against the company and their argument that others were similarly affected. Additionally, the plaintiffs claim Wal-Mart has a highly systemized method of doing business which would likely affect employees at many, if not all, of its locations in the state.

The Failed Attempt At Dismissal

Wal-Mart claimed both cases should be dismissed because the two managers could not know what the working conditions for other managers were in order to make a claim that a class action was proper. However, the courts are aware that employees are typically not in possession of the strongest evidence and may not actually know if other employees were denied overtime when they request class action status. As a result, the court does not require a significant amount of evidence in order for plaintiffs to receive conditional class certification. The plaintiffs need only provide enough evidence that it is more plausible than not that other employees were subject to violations related to a company policy or practice of denying overtime wages. And the courts are increasingly ruling that the employee’s actual knowledge from seeing and experiencing how policies and practices are applied at their job site is sufficient evidence of what other employees may have experienced to allow a class action to proceed.

If you believe your employer has denied you the overtime wages you have earned or is not properly paying you for all of the hours you have worked, you may have a wage or overtime pay claim. Our experienced team of overtime pay lawyers can be reached at (855) 754-2795. Or you may complete our Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form and our knowledgeable legal team will evaluate your claim. 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.

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