Attorney Richard Hayber Explains the Federal Judge's Decision in Family Dollar Manager Case

Hartford employment lawyer Richard Hayber explains a recent decision by a Massachusetts federal court on a case by store managers against Family Dollar for overtime.

Online PR News – 13-May-2014 – Hartford, CT – A federal judge recently ruled that a lawsuit by Store Managers against Family Dollar will be sent back to Massachusetts state court. A lead attorney for the store managers, Richard Hayber, said the decision is a positive step for his clients.

Hayber added: “We filed this lawsuit for Massachusetts workers under Massachusetts law in Massachusetts court. It should not have been removed to Federal court by this North Carolina company. If they want to do business in Massachusetts, they should agree to the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts courts.”

"We are confident in our case, and we look forward to proving it in state court," Hayber said. "The store managers should have been paid time-and-a-half for every hour they work over 40 per week. We are seeking to right this wrong."

The store managers argue that they are owed overtime pay because they are not operating as true managers under Massachusetts overtime law. They are represented by the Hayber Law Firm of Hartford, Connecticut, and Lichten & Liss-Riordan, P.C., of Boston, Massachusetts.

Family Dollar makes their store managers work long hours, sometimes up to 70 hours per week, without overtime pay. Mostly, they perform the same duty as stockers and sales associates: Making sure merchandise is on the shelves, unloading merchandise, ringing up customers, etc. While they spend a small portion of their time performing managerial work, they claim that management is not their primary duty.

Family Dollar, disagrees and asserts that the store managers meet the "executive exemption." Under Massachusetts law, an employer may decline to pay a person overtime if that person is working in a bona fide executive position.

An executive is defined under Massachusetts law is an employee, among other things, “Whose primary duty is managing an enterprise or a customarily recognized department or subdivision of that enterprise.” This is the issue that this case presents.

If an employee does not meet any of the exemptions under law, his or her employer must pay the employee one-and-a-half times their regular rate for every hour more than 40 worked per week.

While the case is now being sent back to Massachusetts state court, it relies upon the same arguments that won a $54 million judgment against Family Dollar in 2008: That store managers do not meet an "executive" exemption from overtime pay because they only spend about 10 to 20 percent of their time managing the store.

Family Dollar has filed an appeal of this transfer ruling and the First Circuit Court of Appeals will decide this issue once and for all.