California District Court Refuses to Certify Class of Retail Store Managers – Los Angeles Employment Attorneys Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik

by Norman B. Blumenthal on November 9, 2012

A California District Court has refused to certify a class of retail store managers seeking overtime pay under California law, holding that individual issues would necessarily predominate. Deane v. Fastenal, Inc., Case No. 11-CV-0042 YGR (N.D. Cal. Sept. 27, 2012).

Fastenal, a hardware store that caters to the construction industry, sends its store managers and staff into the field to make sales calls. Store managers are exempt non-covered employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Fastenal store managers sued the company claiming they were misclassified as exempt and entitled to overtime pay. After the district court granted conditional certification under the FLSA, the plaintiffs moved to certify a class of California managers under California law. Fastenal moved to decertify the conditionally certified FLSA class claiming the store managers were FLSA exempt because they were executives, administrative, and outside sales employees. The district court agreed with Fastenal, denying the motion for class certification on the ground that though some store managers may have been misclassified, the discretion other store managers had in determining field sales, as well as differences between the business traffic of the individual stores, made other store managers exempt.

Misclassified employees generally find California claims favorable because California wage and hour law uses a quantitative primary duties test that requires that the manager spend at least fifty percent of their time performing exempt duties. “This is an example that every wage and hour claim must be carefully reviewed to determine whether a hybrid state and federal claims, a state, or a federal claim is best.”

If you are a California worker who has been classified or reclassified as an independent contractor, contact Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik. Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik is an experienced California employment law firm with offices located in San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The firm dedicates its practice to contingency fee employment law work for issues involving misclassification as a salaried worker exempt from overtime, failure to pay vacation wages, misclassification as an independent contractor, off-the-clock work, wrongful termination, discrimination and other California labor laws.

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