Burlington Coat Factory Assistant Store Managers Owed Unpaid Overtime, Lawsuit Claims [UPDATE]
by Erin Shaak
Last Updated on November 23, 2022
Payton-Fernandez v. Burlington Stores, Inc. et al.
Filed: February 4, 2022 ◆§ 1:22-cv-00608
A former Burlington Coat Factory assistant store manager claims she and similarly situated workers were not paid proper overtime wages.
November 21, 2022 – Burlington Agrees to $11M Settlement of Unpaid OT Claims
Burlington Coat Factory has agreed to settle the claims detailed on this page in an $11 million deal that aims to compensate assistant store managers who were allegedly misclassified as exempt from overtime wages.
The proposed settlement looks to cover roughly 1,715 current and former assistant store managers who worked for Burlington anytime between February 4, 2016 and February 28, 2021, when the retailer reclassified its assistant store manager position as non-exempt.
Those covered by the deal will receive a pro-rated share of the settlement fund based on the number of overtime hours they worked during the covered timeframe. Additionally, assistant store managers who worked in California will receive a portion of a $3,750 payment to resolve claims under the state’s Private Attorneys General Act.
The plaintiffs’ counsel estimates that the average settlement payment will be $6,414.
Covered individuals will not need to file a claim to receive payment; checks will automatically be sent to each person’s last known address as provided by Burlington. The settlement administrator will compare Burlington’s list of addresses against the National Change of Address database or an equivalent system and use “appropriate skip tracing” to locate those covered by the deal.
Settlement checks will contain a note on the memo line explaining that the check is a payment in the “Burlington FLSA Action.” Those covered by the settlement should also receive a notice in the mail with more information about the lawsuit and their rights.
Anyone who cashes their settlement check will be giving up their right to sue Burlington over the claims at issue in the litigation.
The proposed settlement now awaits the judge’s preliminary approval.
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A former Burlington Coat Factory assistant store manager claims in a proposed collective action that she and similarly situated workers were not paid proper overtime wages in accordance with federal law.
The 15-page case alleges that assistant store managers were misclassified by Burlington as exempt from receiving time-and-a-half overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 each week even though they performed essentially the same duties as non-exempt employees and were not entrusted with true managerial responsibilities. The suit calls Burlington’s alleged non-payment of time-and-a-half overtime “widespread, repeated and consistent.”
Per the case, Burlington previously settled two other lawsuits that alleged the retailer owed assistant managers unpaid overtime, which the suit argues is an indication that its ongoing deprivation of overtime pay is “intentional and willful.”
The plaintiff claims to have worked at a Stratford, Connecticut Burlington Coat Factory between August 2013 and October 2020. According to the complaint, the plaintiff worked 50 to 55 hours per week and spent the majority of her time performing the same duties as non-exempt employees, including stocking shelves, working the cash register, cleaning, unloading freight, building displays, folding and hanging clothes and performing customer service.
The lawsuit charges that it was Burlington’s centralized policy to underfund its labor budgets for non-exempt employees, which resulted in assistant store managers being required to work overtime in order to complete non-exempt tasks. Per the case, this allowed Burlington to avoid paying extra wages to non-exempt employees.
The suit argues, however, that assistant store managers do not fall under any exemptions to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, and should have received time-and-a-half wages for their overtime hours.
“The work performed for Defendants by Plaintiff and the members of the Collective required little skill and no capital investment, nor did said work include managerial responsibilities or the exercise of meaningful independent judgment and discretion,” the complaint states, adding that there is “an abundance of sworn testimony” supporting this argument from the retailer’s two previous collective actions.
The lawsuit looks to represent current and former assistant store managers and similarly situated employees who worked for defendants Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corporation, Burlington Coat Factory Investment Holdings, Inc. and Burlington Coat Factory Holdings, LLC in the U.S. and put in more than 40 hours in any workweek within the past three years and until the entry of judgment in this case.
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