Convenience Store Managers Cheated Out of Overtime

Gas station/convenience store managers at nine Georgia locations were cheated out of overtime according to a recent investigation. Although called “managers” and paid a flat salary, the job duties of the managers are not executive duties. The owners of nine stores in Carrollton and Bowden, Georgia – will pay $63,398 in wages to six employees for violating overtime and record keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

I.  GEORGIA GAS STATIONS.

The owners operate nine Marathon, Chevron, Shell, and BP convenience store/ gas stations. The overtime-eligible managers earn flat salaries, without regard to the number of hours that they work. This violated the FLSA by failing to pay overtime in addition to the managers’ salaries when the managers worked over 40 hours in a workweek.

Just because a job is paid on a salary basis, doesn’t mean there is no obligation to pay overtime. Otherwise, any hourly job could be converted to a salary job and the employee cheated out of overtime.  A job that is paid by a salary may still be entitled to overtime. If overtime is worked, overtime pay is in addition to the salary.

The company pas a salary to the “managers” and thought that the jobs were exempt from overtime pay. The company mistakenly believed that it didn’t need to keep accurate records of time worked by the salaried managers. This failure to keep accurate records for employees entitled to overtime also violates the FLSA.

II.  TEST FOR MANAGER EXEMPTION FROM OVERTIME PAY.

To qualify for the “executive” exemption from overtime pay, the managers must pass a four-part test:

    1. The employee must be paid a salary of more than $455 each week; and
    2. The employee’s primary duty must be managing the store, or managing a customarily recognized department or subdivision of the store; and
    3. The employee must regularly direct the work of at least two or more full-time employees or an equal number of part-time employees; and
    4. The employee must have the authority to hire or fire other employees. Or, the employee’s recommendations must be given particular weight as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion, or any other change of status of other employees, .

III.  TYPICAL STORE MANAGER DUTIES.

In many convenience store operations, the “manager” is a manager in name only. The manager may be the most senior person working a shift, or the only person working the shift. However, the “manager” does not direct the work of two or more other employees. An area or district manager actually sets the schedules and assignments of various employees at the store. The “manager” does not decide or make recommendations on hiring, firing, promotion, or pay raises. The “manager’s” primary duty is not these types of executive duties. Instead, the “manager’s” primary duties are as a working cashier, stocking shelves, cleaning the restrooms, etc. Responsibility for “closing out” the shift and balancing the cash drawer is not enough to satisfy the four part test for the executive exemption from overtime pay.

IV.  YOUR SITUATION.

If you are denied overtime pay because you are labeled the “manager” of a convenience store or gas station, compare your duties and salary level to the test described above.  The Ken S. Nugent, P.C. Overtime Team  of attorneys can help you collect (1) back wages, plus (2) liquidated damages in an additional amount of the same back wages and overtime, and (3) attorney’s fees and costs. For a free evaluation of your work situation, contact us here.

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