Bed Bath Beyond Sued for Shorting Overtime Pay
Home goods retailer Bed Bath Beyond (NASDAQ: BBBY ) is being accused of shorting employee wages by not paying them for overtime worked. Proposed class-action lawsuits have been filed in New Jersey and elsewhere.
According to NJ.com, Bed Bath Beyond paid employees under a “fluctuating OT” scheme that penalized them by reducing their hourly overtime rate the more hours they worked. The lawsuit alleges the formula the retailer used divided an employee’s weekly base salary by all the hours they worked, reduced it by half, then multiplied it by the number of hours over 40 hours that were worked. It claims although the employees are salaried, they actually perform the same duties as the company’s hourly workers.
One of the employees suing the retailer received a $65,000 salary annually, but his duties also required him to unload freight, stock merchandise, help customers, serve as a cashier, and other tasks just like the hourly workers he supervised.
In another suit, department managers and assistant managers were also improperly paid less money for overtime hours worked than they were due because Bed Bath Beyond wrongly applied a “fluctuating work week” requirement on them even though their schedules remained largely unchanged.
According to the suit, companies can use a FWW formula with employees whose schedules change from week to week in that they are paid a salary that meets minimum wage laws but earn a 50% wage premium (i.e. time-and-a-half) for hours worked over 50 hours a week. However, the aggrieved employers say their schedules were largely unchanged, and that they worked 11- or 12-hour days depending upon their shift, resulting in them working some 47 to 50 hours per week. That should have entitled the workers to overtime pay beyond the 40 hours worked, but Bed Bath Beyond used the FWW formula instead to avoid paying the higher rates.
The suit also charges that assistant managers were unlawfully classified as “exempt” employees, meaning they did not receive an overtime pay at all.
The plaintiffs in the various cases are seeking the unpaid overtime pay, damages, and various fees.
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