A federal judge has approved a Class of Jewel-Osco store assistants in a class action lawsuit claiming the grocer denied them overtime pay.
U.S. District Court Judge Mary Roland reportedly tossed a bid by Jewel-Osco to dismiss the lawsuit and, instead, granted conditional certification of a Class of up to 600 current and former store assistants. Class Members include those who have worked at Jewel-Osco since May 28, 2017.
Lead plaintiff Lisa P. claimed in her 2019 class action lawsuit that the Midwestern grocery chain misclassified her and other store assistants in order to deny them important employee rights, including overtime pay. She said that, though she was deemed a part of management, she spent most of her work time doing the same tasks of hourly employees entitled to overtime pay, including ringing up customers, inventory, shelving, and cleaning.
Lisa claimed that she regularly worked over 40 hours a week, usually between 50 and 60, but was never paid for those extra hours. Further, she said that work was often passed off to her and other store assistants so Jewel could avoid paying hourly workers for overtime.
She accused the grocery chain of violating federal and state labor laws. In addition to Jewel-Osco, the class action lawsuit names New Albertsons, and American Drug Stores, all subsidiaries of Albertsons, as defendants.
Salaried employees can be exempted from state and federal labor law requirements, reports The Chicago Tribune; however, these employees must earn at least $35,568 and be in management roles. Jewel-Osco store assistants aren’t managerial roles according to the lawsuit adding that they couldn’t hire or fire people and had no control over scheduling.
“These cases rarely go to trial, instead resulting in settlements after they are granted conditional collective action certification and other plaintiffs join,” a lawyer representing the plaintiff said in a statement issued after the ruling.
Are you a current or former Jewel-Osco store assistant? Were you denied overtime pay? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below.
The lead plaintiff is represented by Jason Conway of Conway Legal LLC, Douglas Werman, Maureen Salas, and Sarah J. Arendt of Werman Salas P.C., and Daniel Levin, and Nicholas J. Elia of Levine Sedran & Berman LLP.
The Jewel-Osco Store Assistant Class Action Lawsuit is Lisa P. v. New Albertsons, Inc., et al., Case No. 1:20-cv-03187, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
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