Jury Awards Staples "Managers" $2.5 Million for Misclassifying Them as Salaried Employees

Last week, a jury in New Jersey awarded 343 Staples "managers" $2.5 million dollars, which could grow to $5 million is the judge decides to award additional penalties. The issue in the case was whether "managers" are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which requires employers to pay overtime and provide breaks.

Here in California, this case would likely have been brought under the California Labor Code, which in many ways is more friendly law for employees.

Here's the story on CNNMoney.com:

http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/marketwire/0476236.htm

This case further confirms my belief that employers are willing to wrongfully classify employees and not pay them overtime due because the risk they run by losing is merely paying the overworked employees what they were due in the first place, plus attorneys' fees, costs and sometimes additional damages. The current law is analogous to a theft taking your television and if they get caught, they only have to return the television and pay some comparatively minor costs and penalties.

One of the ways employers get away with breaking wage and hour law is by giving employees work titles that sound like they should be exempt, as in this case, "manager." Fortunately, the law does not consider job title. Here, after a six week trial, the jury found that these "managers" were primarily engaged in non-managerial work.

If you are being paid on a salary basis, you may have a claim for unpaid overtime and not know it. I posted an article yesterday with an overview of the law. Click on it and check out whether you have a claim. If you do, contact an attorney for advice. If you are in the Bay Area, contact us. We provide free consultations.