With the exempt salary threshold saga finally behind us, the latest Bed Bath & Beyond wage and hour suit is a good reminder that following the FLSA’s exemption status requirements is just as important as ever.
Just this summer, Bed Bath & Beyond was sued by former employees over their exemption status. Two employees were denied overtime based on their role within the company, but their role is more managerial than professional – a distinction that many business owners don’t recognize.
Lawsuit Filed Against Bed Bath & Beyond
The suit was filed by two assistant store managers, Olivia and Oscar, at an Illinois store on behalf of themselves and other assistant store managers. Olivia and Oscar claim that they were classified as exempt under the executive exemption. The HR Daily Advisor quotes them as claiming that,
“they worked registers and the customer service desk, performed general customer service, packed shelves, and cleaned the stores by taking out trash, sweeping, and mopping, just as hourly employees did.”
The FLSA Exemption Status
As outlined on the FLSA website, if these duties constituted the majority of the assistant manager’s position, it would hardly classify as an executive role.
To qualify for the executive employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:
- The employee must be compensated on a salary basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week;
- The employee’s primary duty must be managing the enterprise, or managing a customarily recognized department or subdivision of the enterprise;
- The employee must customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two or more other full-time employees or their equivalent; and
- The employee must have the authority to hire or fire other employees, or the employee’s suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion or any other change of status of other employees must be given particular weight.
Bed Bath & Beyond will have to prove in court that the assistant store managers do qualify based on their job duties. Whether the employees actually met these requirements remains to be seen.