An Employee with the Job Title of “Store Manager” May Be Entitled to Overtime Compensation

In a recent decision from the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Plaunt v. Dolgencorp, Inc., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132135 (M.D. Pa. Dec. 14, 2010), Judge James A. Munley held that a store manager’s cause of action seeking overtime-pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act, (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 213(a)(1), could proceed past the summary judgment stage. In that case, the plaintiff was a former Store Manager for Dollar General. While employed as a Store Manager, the plaintiff was never paid any overtime for hours worked over forty within a workweek; instead, she was paid on a salaried basis. Defendant argued that Plaintiff was not entitled to overtime because, according to Defendant, her primary duty was management. Plaintiff in turn argued that although her job title was “Store Manager,” a review of her daily job duties demonstrated that she in actuality spent a large portion of her day performing non-managerial functions.

After a thorough review of the applicable federal caselaw and regulations, Judge Munley held that a jury could decide that plaintiff’s primary duty while employed as a store manager was not management. The District Court focused on five factors which steered its analysis: 1) the amount of time plaintiff spent on managerial duties; 2) the relative importance of the plaintiff’s managerial and non-managerial duties; 3) the frequency with which the plaintiff exercised discretion; 4) the degree to which the plaintiff was supervised; and 5) the relative salaries paid to the employee as compared to a non-exempt employee who performs the same non-managerial tasks. Within this analysis, Judge Munley found that a jury could find that the plaintiff “could not alter store hours or change the store’s layout,” “could not set pay rates, but only recommend advancements,” “could not hire or fire employees, but only make recommendations,” and that she was “required to operate within the payroll budget.” Id. at *36.

In sum, this decision indicates that one must look beyond an employee’s job title in determining whether an employee was wrongfully denied overtime compensation under federal law. As the Supreme Court of Massachusetts observed in Goodrow v. Lane Bryant, Inc., 432 Mass. 165, 296 (Mass. 2000): “A manager in name does not a manager make.”

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