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News | May 05, 2011

Northern District of New York Denies Dollar General’s Motions for Summary Judgment in Store Manager Overtime Case

The Northern District of New York recently denied Dollar General’s motions for summary judgment in a case involving overtime claims of two Dollar General Store Managers.  See Anderson v. Dolgencorp of New York, Inc., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49658 (N.D.N.Y. May 9, 2011).  Plaintiffs alleged that they were owed compensation for hours worked over forty per workweek pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Dollar General argued that plaintiffs were not entitled to overtime compensation because they were “executive” employees and therefore exempt from the FLSA overtime requirement.  The only issue in the motions for summary judgment was whether the Store Managers’ primary duty was management – a necessary finding for the executive exemption to apply.  The Court held that Dollar General could not prove that at this stage, stating that analysis of the primary duty inquiry is “deeply factual” and that “courts are often reluctant to grant summary judgment based on the executive exemption.”  The Court reached this holding despite undisputed evidence that, among other things, both Store Managers interviewed and hired employees, managed inventory levels, ensured that merchandise was properly staged and stocked, and agreed that they were “in charge” of the store.  However, the Court noted that both Store Managers might have spent half of their time performing non-managerial tasks such as running the cash register, stocking shelves, facing products on the shelves, unloading delivery trucks, and cleaning the store.  Moreover, the Court found it significant that Dollar General had a limited labor budget which forced the Store Managers to spend more time performing manual work because of the limited amount of employees that could be scheduled to work at the store at particular times.

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