CAMDEN, NJ – In late January 2017, four (4) former Wawa employees filed a proposed class-action lawsuit contending the firm improperly denied overtime pay to some workers at its convenience stores. The men contend Wawa’s pay practices for assistant general managers (AGMs) violate federal and state laws in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland because their primary duties are “manual in nature.” The lawsuit alleges that Wawa fails to budget enough money for hourly store clerks (who receive overtime pay) to complete all necessary tasks, so assistant general managers typically handle chores like operating cash registers, making hoagies and stocking shelves. Wawa operates more than 730 stores in six states. One of the plaintiff’s alleged that he typically worked for 50 to 55 hours per week, but was paid for 40, according to the suit. He also stated that the AGM duties did not include “hiring, firing, disciplining or directing the work of other employees, and exercising meaningful independent judgment.” The lawsuit is a reminder that there has been an explosion of wage and hour lawsuits around the country and challenging the exemptions of assistant general managers and store managers.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, a general (or store) manager is an exempt executive employee when he/she satisfies the following test:
- Compensated on a salary basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week;
- Primary duty must be managing the enterprise, or managing a customarily recognized department or subdivision of the enterprise;
- Customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two or more other full-time employees or their equivalent; and
- Have the authority to hire or fire other employees, or the employee’s suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion or any other change of status of other employees must be given particular weight. Read the DOL Fact Sheet.
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