Spencer Gifts, LLC has been accused in a proposed class and collective action of misclassifying its salaried store managers as exempt from overtime wages despite requiring them to perform essentially the same duties as non-exempt hourly employees. The plaintiff says he worked as a store manager at one of the defendant’s retail locations and put in between 45 and 60 or more hours of work per week without receiving time-and-a-half overtime wages for the hours he worked over 40.
The lawsuit poses that the defendant purposely understaffs its stores and, because it doesn't pay managers overtime wages, requires them to cover for the lack of hourly employees. The plaintiff argues that managers should be classified as non-exempt because their primary duties – customer service, stocking, setting up displays, operating the cash register, cleaning, and merchandising – are essentially the same duties as those performed by non-exempt store employees. According to the complaint, managers are not responsible for the “overall performance of the store,” nor for evaluating and disciplining employees, including hiring or firing full-time workers.
Originally filed in state court, this action has since been removed to the District Court for the Northern District of New York.