I just read an especially thoughtful opinion by Judge Catherine D. Perry of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in an FLSA misclassification lawsuit entitled Kanatzer v. Dolgencorp, Inc., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67798 (E.D. Missouri July 8, 2010). The decision is important in two respects. First, the Court finds disputed facts concerning the issue of whether plaintiff, a Dollar General Store Manager was properly classified as an FLSA-exempt “executive.” Applying the four factors described in 29 C.F.R. 541.700(a), the Court emphasized the common-sense notion that the amount of time a supposed “executive” spends performing non-exempt duties such as working the cash register, assisting customers, and performing other “hourly” tasks really DOES matter under the misclassification analysis. Second, the Court rejected Dollar General’s argument that, in calculating damages, plaintiffs’ economic expert was required to utilize the fluctuating workweek method (“FWM”) of overtime compensation. Here, the Court emphasized that the FWM cannot be applied retroactively since, among other reasons, the method requires that the employee actually received overtime pay. This opinion will provide guidance to retail employees seeking to vindicate their overtime rights.
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