• Wawa Agrees to Pay $1.4M to Settle Employee OT Suit

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    Convenience store chain Wawa Inc. has agreed to pay about $1.4 million to settle claims by more than 300 assistant managers who said they were forced to work overtime but weren't paid for it.

    The settlement of the federal class-action lawsuit was approved by a federal judge in New Jersey last week.

    In the suit, the assistant general managers (AGMs) said Wawa classified them as salaried employees and only paid them for 40 hours work even though the work performed didn't include any managerial responsibilities, according to court papers in the case. The AGMs said their primary job duties included "working the cash registers, making deli sandwiches, stocking shelves, cleaning the store, assisting customers, unpacking merchandise, and other manual tasks"normally performed by hourly employees, the court papers said.

    Lead plaintiffs in the case said they were required to work 50-60 hours per week while only being paid for 40. The plaintiffs claimed Wawa's classifying the workers as salaried workers was part of a company-wide policy aimed at minimizing labor costs.

    Under the settlement, a total of $892,640.00 will be paid to the 333 plaintiffs, with each of the plaintiffs receiving an average $86.74 per week for each week in 2015 that they worked without overtime. The average payout will be $4,268.29 per plaintiff, according to court papers. In addition, four of the lead plaintiffs will receive an additional $5,000 "service award," while three others will receive an additional $1,000.

    The plaintiffs' law firm, Hepworth Gershbaum & Roth of New York, will receive $466,666.66 in fees, according to court papers. 

    The suit was filed in January 2017 against Wawa and its parent company Wild Goose Holdings, but the allegations of improper payment dated back to before Dec. 28, 2015, when Wawa reclassified AGMs so they were eligible for overtime.The plaintiffs in the suit included people who worked as AGMs at Wawa between Jan. 12, 2015 and Dec. 28, 2015.

    Wawa did not respond to a request for comment Monday afternoon.

    Wawa operates more than 840 convenience retail stores, with about 600 of those offering fuel, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Washington, D.C.

    --Steve Cronin, scronin@opisnet.com

    Copyright, Oil Price Information Service

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