Best Buy Employees Receive $900,000 in Unpaid Wages Settlement

Wage, hour and overtime lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report that assistant managers at Best Buy recently settled with the company after being denied years of overtime pay. Under the terms of the settlement, plaintiffs will receive $902,000 collectively for their unpaid wages.

The Best Buy assistant managers were forced to clock out and wait for physical security to check them before they could leave work, which often took about 30 minutes. Managers were never compensated for this time, which added up significantly for many of the longer-term workers.

A similar failure-to-compensate case is currently pending against CVS, which also requires employees to wait for security checks after clocking out and before leaving for the day. Assistant manager plaintiffs in the CVS class-action also claimed that they were forced to work though meal and rest breaks without fair compensation in violation of both state and federal laws.

Meanwhile, a federal judge in California recently granted partial class-action status to a separate group of Best Buy employee plaintiffs, who are suing the company for failure to pay for overtime, travel, and meal periods. Plaintiffs are repair technicians – better known as the Geek Squad – and are alleging that they should have been paid for all hours worked beyond 40 in a week and for meal breaks in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The judge affirmed that their claims were not suited to full class-wide treatment, but that their allegations concerning failure to pay for commuting and overtime presented common issues for all Best Buy techs.

In other overtime wage violation news, a management firm was recently ordered to pay nearly 65 Dunkin Donuts employees over $197,000 in back wages. The firm, QSR Management, owns and operates 55 Dunkin Donuts franchises throughout Staten Island, N.Y. and New Jersey. After complaints were reported from these QSR-owned franchises, officials from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour division launched an investigation into the franchises.

The two-year investigation, headed by the division’s Southern New Jersey unit, found that QSR fraudulently failed to pay its store managers overtime wages. Like Best Buy and CVS (also Apple and countless other companies throughout the nation), QSR falsely labeled all managers at the 55 franchises as exempt from overtime wages. As a result of the investigation, 56 Dunkin Donuts store managers will be paid a collective $197,550 in back wages.

At two of the locations federal investigators also found that Dunkin Donuts management was taking tips from customer services workers to make up for shortages in register counts. This is in direct violation of the FLSA, resulting in minimum wage citations and fines of $237 for eight management employees.

The Dunkin Donuts investigation was launched in April 2011 and concluded in March 2013. In a statement, Dunkin Donuts affirmed that each franchise owner is responsible for ensuring their own business practices are in compliance with federal, state and local laws. Decisions such as employee wages and benefits offered are up to each individual franchise owner.

Managers, assistant managers and other similar employees may only be considered exempt from overtime wages if they are paid on salary and/or if their job contains certain responsibilities, such as the ability to hire and fire. QSR claimed its managers were salaried though it actually paid them on an hourly basis, reducing pay if they ever worked less than 60 hours per week. Overtime exemption only applies if managers are guaranteed a weekly salary at least $455.

QSR stated its commitment to future FLSA compliance and has changed its employee handbook to reflect proper rules and standards for wage exemption requirement, and to no longer permit management to take tips from customer services workers.

Wage, hour and overtime lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm are currently reviewing and accepting cases of known, repeated, and large-scale FLSA violations. If you believe you were falsely labeled as exempt from overtime wages or were otherwise mistreated by an employer, you may be entitled to compensation and should contact a skilled attorney today for a free legal consultation.