Bed Bath & Beyond Facing Unpaid Overtime Class Action Lawsuit

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Santa Clara, CA: A proposed unpaid overtime class action lawsuit has been filed against Bed, Bath & Beyond (BB&B), by former department and assistant managers who allege the retailer is in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The allegations are that BB&B improperly denied the plaintiffs overtime by not meeting the FLSA requirements for a “fluctuating work week” model, which are that employees' hours to change from week to week, they have a fixed salary that meets minimum wage requirements, and a 50 percent overtime premium for hours worked in excess of 50 hours. According to the suit, the Bed Bath & Beyond department managers had relatively stable schedules and did not meet the fluctuating work week model.

“Upon information and belief, plaintiffs' weekly work hours as [department managers] did not meaningfully fluctuate, their scheduled work hours and the actually hours they worked, including the numbers of overtime hours, were largely consistent from week to week,” according to the suit. “Because the [department managers’] weekly work hours were substantially the same from week to week, defendant [unlawfully] applied the FWW model to avoid paying the [department managers] their overtime compensation under the regular 1.5 overtime premium.”

The plaintiffs also assert that assistant managers were unlawfully classified as exempt employees who did not receive any overtime pay, that the company violated labor laws by failing to provide a wage notice at the time of hire outlining terms and conditions, and that employees didn't properly receive pay stub information.

The suit states that named plaintiffs Danyell Thomas, Rashaun F. Frazer, Andrae Whaley and Eleni Miglis worked relatively the same hours and days for shifts totaling in excess of 40 hours a week. Thomas, Frazer and Whaley, as department managers, were responsible for largely the same tasks as normally hourly paid employees, although they had base salaries.

“Consistent with defendant’s policy and pattern or practice, plaintiffs regularly worked in excess of 40 hours per workweek without being paid at premium overtime rate 1.5 times of their respective regular rate of compensation for the hours they worked in excess of 40 per workweek,” the complaint states.

Thomas worked at a store in New York City from December 2010 to May 2011. During that period, she alleges she worked 47.5 hours a week, which she understood was necessary to earn her starting base salary, and typically worked one of three shifts, five days a week, early, middle or late.

Further, plaintiff Frazer worked at the same Bed Bath and Beyond as Thomas from October 2011 to January 2015. He alleges he worked 51.5 hours a week to earn his starting base salary, and also typically worked an early, middle or late shift. The suits states he worked from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on early shift days, or 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on middle shift days.

The plaintiffs are claiming violations of the FLSA and state labor laws, and seek unpaid overtime wages, liquidated damages, prejudgment and post-judgment interest and attorneys’ fees.

The complaint seeks to create a collective action made up of those who are or were department managers or assistant managers from October 2013 through the present for FLSA overtime compensation violations.

The suit also seeks to create a class of all non-exempt Bed Bath & Beyond employees within the past six years for failure to pay overtime and failure to provide proper wage notice at the time of hiring.

The plaintiffs are represented by Jian Hang of Hang & Associates PLLC. The case is Thomas et al. v. Bed Bath and Beyond Inc., case number 1:16-cv-08160, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

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