A class action lawsuit alleging Mattress Firm Inc. failed to pay overtime wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and Massachusetts employment law was filed in federal court.
Lead plaintiffs allege that although Mattress Firm generally requires its inside sales employees to work more than 40 hours a week, the company does not pay them time and a half as required under federal and state law.
Instead, alleges the overtime lawsuit, sales employees are paid occasional commissions and misclassified as exempt from overtime pay.
According to the overtime lawsuit, Mattress Firm employs inside sales associates for each of its over 3,500 locations. It describes the employees as “hourly” and only pays an hourly wage, but when it comes to overtime pay, the company refuses.
The lawsuit says that Mattress Firm “intentionally and willfully misclassified the inside sales employees as exempt and consistently misreported wages earned based on hourly work as commissions.”
Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA), non-exempt hourly employees are generally required to be paid at 1.5 times their hourly rate any time they work over 40 hours a week.
Mattress Firm has a policy, alleges the overtime lawsuit, of not paying its inside sales employees for their overtime.
“Indeed, a majority (more than 50%) of the employees’ total compensation are the payments they receive based on a pre-determined hourly rate,” alleges the overtime lawsuit. “Mattress Firm had and/or has a company-wide policy of not paying the plaintiffs, or any other similarly situated inside sales employees, an hourly rate equal to one and one-half times their regular hourly rate for all the hours that they worked in excess of 40.”
Further, alleges the overtime lawsuit, the Mattress Firm violated Massachusetts law which requires employees who work Sunday to be paid time and a half as well.
The plaintiffs seek to represent a nationwide Class of inside store employees at the Mattress Firm, along with a subclass of Massachusetts employees.
Right to Overtime Pay
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act and various state laws protect hourly non-exempt employees from being overworked by requiring employers to pay them at 1.5 their hourly pay for working over 40 hours a week. However, employers try to skirt these employment laws sometimes.
In one instance, employers may “misclassify” an employee as exempt. Exempt status is generally reserved for salaried employees with a managerial role. Employees, like sales associates, retail workers, warehouse workers and others with routine tasks are usually not considered exempt.
In another instance, employers may misreport or underreport the hours worked by non-exempt employees by requiring them to clock in or out early or skip breaks, but still record them.
The Mattress Firm Overtime Lawsuit is Perez-Tejada, et al. v. Mattress Firm Inc., et al., Case No. 1:17-cv-12448, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
If you suspect you are not being paid properly for overtime work, contact Bradley/Grombacher. Our experienced attorneys are currently investigating wage and hour claims. Call today.
Note: Bradley/Grombacher is not representing the plaintiff in this lawsuit.