Home Depot Asst. Managers Claim Unfair OT Pay Denial

December 14, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Current and former Home Depot assistant managers have asked for class-action status for a lawsuit that claims they were unfairly denied overtime pay and pension benefits by being improperly classified as managers.

If approved by a federal judge, the lawsuit would cover more than 500 current and former employees of the home improvement chain nationwide, lawyers for three plaintiffs said Tuesday, according to an Associated Press report. The Atlanta-based Home Depot denied the charges.

Worker lawyer Della Bahan said the company purposely misclassified the employees, violating federal and state laws, and forced them to work more than 40 hours a week without overtime. “These men and women have been given the phony title of `assistant store manager,’ but in fact have primarily been performing the work of hourly employees and are, therefore, entitled to overtime pay,” she said, according to the AP report.

The assistant managers also received reduced benefits in the company retirement plan because they were not eligible for the 4.5% matching contribution from the company, plaintiff lawyers claimed.

Federal wage and hour regulations and New Jersey state law say employees are not eligible for overtime pay when their primary duties consist of management of the company or a department, when they regularly direct two or three other employees, when they have the authority to hire or fire, and when their weekly salary is at least $400.

“Assistant store managers at Home Depot do not meet any of these criteria,” said another plaintiff lawyer, Joseph Fine, according to the Associated Press report. “In many instances, the employees’ responsibilities and duties remained the same as before they were given their new titles. Many so-called assistant store managers’ primary responsibilities are still mopping floors, taking out the garbage and stocking shelves – all tasks traditionally assigned to hourly employees.”

The workers also cite violations of laws in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin.