Several former managers and assistant managers are suing Publix Super Markets, claiming they were underpaid for overtime work.
The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, was filed this week in U.S. District Court in Panama City, Fla.
The suit claims Publix did not include regular bonuses the managers received in calculating their rate of overtime pay. The managers, who were non-exempt employees eligible for overtime, also claim they should have been paid using “time and a half” rates instead of “half time” rates when they worked more than 40 hours a week.
Publix spokeswoman Brenda Reid said Friday that the company would have no comment. “We don’t comment on open litigation,” Reid said.
The plaintiffs include a former deli manager, two assistant deli managers and a bakery manager. Sean Culliton, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said he wants the suit to represent all Publix managers and assistant managers, who he said regularly work 50 hours a week.
“This impacts a lot of employees,” Culliton told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday. “Our goal is to get them paid what they have earned.”
The suit claims Publix is in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires bonuses to be included in base wages used to determine overtime rates. The plaintiffs also argue that because their pay is not “fixed” like other employees’ pay due to the bonuses, they should have been paid at a rate of time and a half instead of half time.
An hourly worker’s regular weekly pay rate is determined by taking a base wage and dividing it by 40 hours. The regular pay rate is then multiplied by 1.5 to come up with a time-and-a-half overtime rate. The regular pay rate is divided by 2 to come up with a half-time rate. The overtime rates in both cases are then multiplied by the number of excess hours worked to come up with the overtime pay.
The plaintiffs are seeking unpaid overtime compensation plus damages. They also want attorney fees and court costs paid.
Publix has stores in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee.