After nearly a decade of litigation, Burlington Stores has reached an agreement to settle two lawsuits alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Assuming a judge approves the proposed settlement, the Burlington, N.J.-based company will pay out a total of $19,613,900 to workers who say they were illegally denied overtime pay. The payout represents an average gross amount of $12,003 for each of the 539 collective members and 1,095 settlement class members, according documents filed July 28 in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
According to court documents, plaintiffs believe that the recovery “is not merely adequate — it is a truly excellent result.” The payout would be the second largest wage and hour settlement in New Jersey district court, behind a $42 million Staples settlement reached in 2011.
If approved, the Burlington settlement will put to bed two lawsuits, the first filed in 2011 and the second brought in 2014.
The first suit, filed in July 2011, alleges that the off-price chain misclassified store workers as assistant store managers to avoid paying overtime. Lead plaintiff Steve Goodman said his primary tasks as a Burlington assistant store manager included nonexempt duties such as stocking shelves, building displays, cleaning stores and scanning prices. Between 2005 and 2010, he regularly worked over 40 hours a week at Burlington outposts in Florida without receiving overtime pay, Goodman claims.
Similarly, the 2014 suit, filed on behalf of assistant store managers in New York, California and Illinois, alleges Burlington routinely required assistant store managers to work over 40 hours weekly to complete nonexempt duties — and that they were misclassified as exempt from overtime by the company.
Goodman and the three lead plaintiffs in the 2014 suit — Barbara Kawa, Theresa Massey and Danielle Solecki — would receive up to $10,000 each in incentive payments under the proposed settlement agreement.
Earlier this month, The TJX Companies Inc. agreed to settle similar FLSA complaints for $31.5 million. The settlement will be distributed among about 1,900 current and former assistant store managers of Marshalls and HomeGoods. The gross recovery amount is $16,750, lawyers for the plaintiffs have determined, with the average worker to receive a payout of $10,207 after attorneys’ fees and other costs.
A representative from Burlington did not immediately return FN’s request for comment.