Middle District of Pennsylvania Denies Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment in Dollar General Store Manager Misclassification Case.

Judge Munley of the Middle District of Pennsylvania recently denied a Defendant’s motion summary judgment in a case where a Store Manager alleged violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In Pierce v. Dolgencorp, Inc., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10624 (M.D. Pa. Feb. 3, 2011), a former Dollar General Store Manager alleged that she was misclassified as an exempt employee and therefore wrongfully denied overtime compensation. Judge Munley noted, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, that Ms. Pierce worked 50 to 60 hours per week, interviewed and hired 14 employees, trained employees, disciplined employees, and scheduled employees’ hours. Indeed, during a deposition Plaintiff had testified that she was the leader of her store.

Nonetheless, questions of fact remained as to three factors determinative under federal law as to whether Plaintiff was properly classified as exempt in her position as a Store Manager: 1) the amount of time spent on managerial duties; 2) relative importance of managerial and non-managerial duties; and 3) relative salaries paid to employee as compared to non-exempt employee. Judge Munley noted that despite Plaintiff’s job title as a Store Manager, Plaintiff testified that she spent 50% of her time performing manual labor. Also, on “truck days” – which occurred two times a week, Plaintiff would spend 75% of her day unloading and inventorying. Regarding the second factor in dispute, Judge Munley noted that because the store refused to grant Plaintiff more hours to give to other non-exempt employees to perform manual labor, and instead made Plaintiff perform such work instead as a Store Manager, a reasonable juror could conclude that Defendant most valued Plaintiff’s manual labor. Accordingly, as the facts of this case demonstrate, it is a very fact-intensive, as well as legal, analysis as to whether an employee with the title of Store Manager is properly classified as exempt from the overtime laws by his or her employer.

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