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Overtime Class of Duane Reade Assistant Store Managers Conditionally Certified

For the third time, a New York federal district court has conditionally certified a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective action on behalf of Duane Reade assistant store managers. On January 27, 2012, the Court issued an order in Jacob v. Duane Reade Inc., 10 Civ. 160 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 27, 2012) that allows FLSA notice to issue to all assistant store managers who worked at Duane Reade between January 7, 2009 and the January 27, 2012.

Court-ordered notice will inform Duane Reade assistant store managers of their right to join the case and attempt to protect their overtime rights under the FLSA. The Court also ordered that the FLSA notice should be posted in Duane Reade stores. The case includes unpaid overtime claims under the New York Labor Law. Outten & Golden LLP represents the plaintiffs in the Jacob v. Duane Reade Inc. case along with co-counsel, Klafter Olsen & Lesser LLP and Gottlieb & Associates.

In Jacob v. Duane Reade Inc., the Court found that Duane Reade's Assistant Store Managers were similarly situated because all of them were subject to a single, company-wide decision to classify them as "executives" who were not eligible for overtime. The court pointed to Duane Reade's centralized operations and employment policies as evidence that assistant store managers had similar duties. It rejected Duane Reade's argument that assistant store managers' jobs were different because their stores had different hours, were in different neighborhoods, and had different types of clients. The court pointed out that Duane Reade did not consider these differences significant when it decided to classify all assistant store managers as exempt from overtime.

This decision is similar to decisions in two other drug store assistant store manager unpaid overtime cases against Duane Reade,Damassia v. Duane Reade, Inc., 04 Civ. 8819, 2006 WL 2853971 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 5, 2006), and Chowdhury v. Duane Reade, Inc., 06 Civ. 2295, 2007 WL 2873929 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 2, 2007), where the a New York federal district court granted the plaintiffs' motions for FLSA conditional certification in 2006 and 2007. The Court also combined Damassiand Chowdurhy and certified them as a Rule 23 class action,

Damassia v. Duane Reade, Inc., 250 F.R.D. 152 (S.D.N.Y. 2008), previously enforced all New York Duane Reade assistant store managers' overtime pay rights under the New York Labor Law. Outten & Golden LLP and Klafter Olsen & Lesser represented the plaintiffs in Damassia and Chowdhury.

Duane Reade assistant store managers are not the only drug store assistant store managers to successfully certify FLSA collective actions in unpaid overtime cases. In a 2010 order, Cruz v. Hook-Superx, LLC, 09 Civ. 7717, 2010 WL 3069558 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 5, 2010), a New York federal district court conditionally certified a nationwide FLSA collective action of CVS assistant store managers. More than 1,600 CVS assistant store managers joined the case. Outten & Golden LLP represented the CVS assistant store managers in Cruz. In 2010, a Florida federal district court certified an FLSA collective action for Florida CVS assistant store managers in Henderson v. Holiday CVS, LLC, 09 Civ. 80909, 2010 WL 1854111 (S.D. Fla. May 11, 2010. In 2009, a Pennsylvania federal district Court certified a nationwide FLSA collective action against Rite Aid in Craig v. Rite Aid Corp., 08 Civ. 2317, 2009 WL 4723286 (M.D. Pa. Dec. 9, 2009). In Indergit v. Rite Aid Corp., 08 Civ. 9361, 2010 WL 2465488 (S.D.N.Y. June 16, 2010), a New York federal district court conditionally certified an FLSA collective action on behalf of Rite Aid store managers.

Drug store assistant store managers are not the only assistant store managers who have successfully certified FLSA collective actions in unpaid overtime cases. In 2011, a Connecticut district court conditionally certified an FLSA collective action in an unpaid overtime case against Boston Market in Alli v. Boston Mkt. Co., 10 Civ. 4, 2011 WL 4006691 (D. Conn. Sept. 8, 2011). Outten & Golden LLP represents the Boston Market assistant store managers along with Klafter Olsen & Lesser and The Hayber Law Firm, LLC. In Youngblood v. Family Dollar Stores, Inc., 09 Civ. 3176, 2011 WL 4597555 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 4, 2011), a New York federal district court certified a class of store managers seeking overtime under the New York Labor Law. In 2008, in Francis v. A & E Stores, Inc., 06 Civ. 1638, 2008 WL 2588851 (S.D.N.Y. June 26, 2008), a New York federal district conditionally certified an FLSA collective action on behalf of assistant store managers working for PayHalf clothing stores. In 2009, a Pennsylvania District Court conditionally certified an FLSA collective action on behalf of assistant store managers working for Foot Locker, in Pereira v. Foot Locker, Inc., 261 F.R.D. 60, 63 (E.D. Pa. 2009). In Stillman v. Staples, Inc., 07 Civ. 849, 2008 WL 1843998 (D.N.J. Apr. 22, 2008), a federal district court in New Jersey conditionally certified a group of assistant sales managers at Staples. And in Evans v. Lowe's Home Centers, Inc., 03 Civ. 438, 2004 WL 6039927 (M.D. Pa. June 17, 2004), a Pennsylvania court conditionally certified a group of assistant department managers working for Lowe's.

Please visit the professional bio of Justin Swartz at the Outten & Golden LLP website.

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