Judge Mauskopf, a judge in the Eastern District of New York, recently denied Home Depot’s motion for summary judgment in an individual case on behalf of an Assistant Store Manager alleging overtime violations under New York law. In Clougher v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 696 F. Supp. 2d 285, 288 (E.D.Y. 2010), Mr. Clougher brought claims under the New York Labor Law alleging that he was wrongfully classified as exempt and not paid any overtime. As an Assistant Store Manager, Mr. Clougher worked at two different Home Depot Stores in New York over a period of four years. He allegedly worked a minimum of 55 hours per week and spent no more than 20% of his time performing managerial tasks. As an Assistant Store Manager, Mr. Clougher said that he spent most of his time stocking shelves, unloading trucks, working at a cash register, sweeping floors, assisting customers, and working alongside other customers.
Home Depot, on the other hand, claimed that as an Assistant Manager Mr. Clougher worked in an “executive” position and therefore sought summary judgment on the grounds that he was not entitled to overtime on the basis of his status as a bona fide executive. The court denied Home Depot’s motion for summary judgment and noted that the question as to whether one is exempt as an executive requires a “highly fact-intensive inquiry” and moreover noted that in many cases days of trial testimony were needed to reach such a conclusion. Although in this case there were 2 depositions of the plaintiff, that was simply insufficient for the court to make the proper determination as to whether Mr. Clougher’s job as an Assistant Store Manager was an exempt or non-exempt position. The Court held that Home Depot had not met its “strict burden of establishing [Plaintiff’s] bona fide executive status as a matter of law.”