Arizona Judge Conditionally Certifies Class of Store Managers Not Paid Overtime

On May 24, 2010 the Honorable Frederick J. Martone of the District of Arizona conditionally certified a class of approximately 4,600 current and form Store Managers at AutoZone automotive parts stores across the country (except for California). See Taylor v. Autozone, Inc. et al., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55590 (D.Az May 24, 2011). The lawsuit alleges that Autozone improperly treats its Store Managers as exempt from the overtime law and pays them a salary that does not properly compensate them with overtime pay. In reaching this conclusion, the Taylor Court held that the company’s common classification of all store managers as exempt “supports the conclusion that all class members are similarly situated. Taylor, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55590 at *7. The workers argue that rather than performing typical managerial tasks (such as hiring, firing and scheduling), they spend the majority of their time performing more basic duties that are usually performed by hourly employees who are entitled to overtime such as, inter alia, stocking merchandise , creating plan-o-grams, helping customers with sales and operating the cash register.

The complaints made by the workers in Taylor are common throughout the retail and banking industry, especially in recent years where many employers have cut back on the amount of overtime its hourly workers are allowed to put in. As a result, salaried Assistant Store Managers and Store Managers have been required to “pick up the slack” and put in long hours performing duties that are usually reserved for hourly employees and not get paid for this time because they are “managers.” This is especially true for Assistant Store Managers or Assistant Branch Managers which are often paid a salary simply to do the same tasks as hourly without any of the authority or responsibility that is supposed to come with the “manager” title.

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