In mid-August, 2011, a federal judge in Florida approved a settlement between Starbucks and a group of 553 of its store managers. This settlement resolves three-year legal battle over the store managers' unpaid overtime claims.
As noted elsewhere on this blog, the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") requires that most employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked, as well as one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for all overtime hours worked (all hours worked over forty each week). Employees to whom the FLSA does not apply are considered "exempt" employees. According to the store managers' original complaint, Starbucks "inappropriately and improperly classifies its store managers as exempt employees" and, in so doing, "violated the FLSA by failing to properly pay overtime..." The settlement of these unpaid overtime claims will result in each of the 553 store managers receiving an average of over $1,000 in compensation.
It is fairly common for employers to misclassify workers as exempt from FLSA coverage, especially in the current economy where employers are looking for every possible way to cut costs. This blog has described several cases of employee misclassification.
Have you been improperly classified and, as a result, been denied overtime? Your employer may have told you that you are not entitled to overtime, but that may not actually be true. To learn more about your rights, you should contact a St. Louis overtime attorney.