We have a case pending in federal court against Dollar General Stores that is very similar to the Family Dollar cases referred to above. Our case, which is a class action, has been set for trial in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and will start on July 31st. Judge Clemon has told both sides that the case will be tried in two weeks. Dee Miles, Roman Shaul and I will try the case for our clients.
Dollar General is the largest company in the dollar store market. Presently, they have over 8000 stores in 31 states. Based on their most recent annual report, they have over 8.6 billion a year in annual net sales. Based on what we have learned in this case, it appears that one of the reasons Dollar General has remained so dominant in the market over their other competitors is that they are saving millions of dollars each year by not compensating their store managers properly. Discovery has revealed that a Dollar General store’s labor budget, or payroll, is the largest expense in each individual store. Therefore, every dollar a store cuts from its payroll is another dollar in the corporation’s pocket. Unfortunately for the store managers, who are on a straight salary, they are left to handle all of the work in the store, often times working in a store alone with no help. Many of our clients have worked 70-80 hours each week. When you divide the number of hours the store managers work each week into their weekly salary, they appear to be making almost the same hourly rate as the other non-managerial employees in the store.
Typically, the work the Store Manager spends the majority of her time performing involves manual labor type duties. These things include stocking the shelves, cleaning the store, and running the register. It is our position, based on the applicable law, that this is not the kind of work the Fair Labor Standards Act intended to be “exempt” from over time pay. We believe that a true salaried executive, who is not entitled to over time pay, should have more “managerial” duties than in the case with the Dollar General store managers. If we are successful in obtaining a just verdict for our clients, we are hopeful that the verdict will change the way many retail establishments treat their employees. It is not right to take advantage of these store managers and to ultimately require them to spend 70-80 hours a week in their stores, which is time spent away from their families, just to receive the same hourly rate has everyone else who works in the store.
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