A federal appeals court has upheld a $35.6 million judgment against Family Dollar Stores Inc., which was sued by employees denied overtime pay because they were classified as store managers. A federal jury in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, ruled in 2006 that Family Dollar violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and awarded back pay to 1,424 employees who routinely worked 60 to 70 hours a week with duties that included mopping floors, unloading trucks, stocking shelves and running cash registers. The North Carolina-based company appealed U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon’s final award, which included more than $17.8 million in back overtime and an equal amount in damages. A U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit panel upheld Judge Clemon’s ruling.
The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta agreed with the judge and jury. The jury “reasonably determined that Family Dollar failed to meet its burden of proving that Plaintiff store managers’ primary duty was management,” said the opinion written by Judge Frank M. Hull and joined by Judges Joel F. Dubina and Peter T. Fay. Family Dollar operates 6,600 stores in 44 states, from Maine to Arizona, offering low-cost general merchandise largely to rural and small-town customers.
The Plaintiffs were represented by Allen Schreiber of the Schreiber & Petro firm and Greg Wiggins, Mike Quinn and Rosco Calamusa of the Wiggins, Childs, Quinn & Pantazis firm, all from Birmingham. These lawyers did an outstanding job in the eight-year-old case. The Appeals Court decision will have an effect on a number of cases that were being held up waiting for the court to rule.
Source: Associated Press
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