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Aldi Grocery Chain Faces Employment Lawsuit

Aldi stores are coming to the Lone Star State, but the discount grocery chain is facing a legal battle with employees. Over 200 current and former store managers are suing the company for unpaid overtime wages, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The store managers at Aldi typically work between 50 and 60 hours a week, coming into the store as early at 4:30 AM, reports The Wall Street Journal. Approximately 50 of the 1,056 current store managers with Aldi have joined the lawsuit.

The federal lawsuit alleges that the company's practices violate the Fair Labor Standards Act, which mandates a maximum 40 hour work week for non-exempt employees. Generally, if you are an hourly employee, you are non-exempt, and entitled to overtime.

However, if you are paid at least $455 per week, paid on a salary basis, and perform exempt duties, then you are not entitled to overtime. Generally, exempt employees manage more than two employees or are in an administrative position like human resources.

The managers allege that they were wrongly classified as management, because they had duties of stocking shelves, cleaning, and operating the cash register, and didn't supervise any workers or have the authority to hire or fire employees.

If the managers' claims are true, then Aldi may have some overtime to pay out. This certainly seems to be the case, as it does not matter what the employee's title is, but instead what their actual duties are. You could be called a dishwasher, but manage the kitchen staff and at that point you would be an exempt employee.

While Texas may be looking forward to the new competitor to Walmart, nobody likes a company that flaunts the Federal Labor laws. Keep an eye on the Aldi lawsuit to see whether the "managers" actually were.

July 2012 Editor’s Note: This blog post has been updated by John List, Esq. to ensure relevancy of content and that law cited is current.

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