After more than 6 years of litigation, The TJX Companies Inc. has agreed to pay out $31.5 million to Marshalls and HomeGoods workers who say they were illegally denied overtime pay.
The deal — which awaits approval in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts — was reached after months of “dogged negotiation,” according to court documents filed by the plaintiffs’ legal team on July 20.
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. Workers’ individual payouts will depend on how many weeks they worked for Marshalls or HomeGoods as well as other factors.
According to a court filing, the plaintiffs believe that the recovery is “is not merely adequate — it is a truly excellent result.” Court documents say the deal is the second-largest wage and hour settlement in the First Circuit in terms of total dollars, behind only a $34 million payment made by CVS Caremark Corp. in 2012.
In reaching the settlement agreement, TJX Co. maintains “its denial as to any liability or wrongdoing of any kind.” While the company is parent to TJ Maxx as well as Marshalls and HomeGoods, employees from the former were not part of the suit.
Litigation began in December 2013, Celina Roberts and Anthony Sciotto filed a suit against TJX claiming that they and other Marshalls or HomeGoods assistant store managers were not properly classified as exempt and were not paid overtime wages for hours worked over 40 — a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act as well as New York Labor Law. Other plaintiffs brought forth similar suits alleging they were illegally denied OT pay.
According to the workers, they were classified as managers by the store in order to avoid being paid overtime — but their day-to-day duties were not managerial. The workers say their primary tasks included stocking shelves, folding clothes, unpacking boxes, cleaning stores and manning registers.
The TJX Co. settled a portion of the lawsuit’s claims — pertaining to unpaid overtime for assistant store managers during training — back in 2015 for $4.8 million.