ABRA Employees File Class Action Suit Against Company
Two former employees of ABRA Auto Body & Glass have filed
a class-action suit against the company alleging that it required
customer service managers (CSMs) and customer service representatives
(CSRs) to work overtime without pay and that it did so by misclassifying
these employees as "managerial," which exempted them from
overtime pay. The suit was filed on July 17, 2007, in the United
States District Court in Minnesota.
The plaintiffs, Thomas Hale and Justin Schreckenstein, claim that
as CSMs, they were required to carry a workload that could not be
completed without working more than 40 hours per week and that 50
percent of their jobs were comprised of non-managerial duties. They
allege that this occurs with CSRs as well. In addition, the plaintiffs
claim that the company failed to pay overtime compensation to CSMs
and CSRs in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
and applicable state laws, according to the complaint.
Hale, a Georgia resident, was employed by ABRA as a CSM from around
February 2005 through February 2006, and once again from July 2006
through November 2006. The complaint alleges that Hale consistently
worked more than 50 hours per week. Schreckenstein, also a Georgia
resident, claims he was employed by ABRA as a CSM from June 2004
up until July 2005, and again in October or November 2005, according
to the complaint, and that he also regularly worked more than 50
hours per week without compensation for the hours in excess of 40.
The plaintiffs claim that ABRA CSMs and CSRs do not perform managerial
duties, such as "significant judgement or independent decision-making,"
and that their main duties involve sales, estimates and customer
service. However, the claim notes that "ABRA takes the position
that these store managers are exempt from legal requirements to
pay them overtime because they are 'managers' or 'representatives.'"
The complaint also alleges that ABRA classified employees this
way in an effort to increase its profits.
"Plaintiffs allege that Defendant, in order to generate millions
of dollars of net profits, has intentionally and improperly designated
ABRA CSMs and CSRs, including Plaintiffs and members of the Class,
as 'exempt' employees in order to avoid payment of overtime wages
in violation of applicable federal, state and common laws,"
says the complaint.
The plaintiffs claim that they and others who qualify to participate
in the class-action suit "are entitled to compensation for
unpaid overtime together with pre-judgment interest and liquidated
The complaint notes that CSMs and CSRs at ABRA, its subsidiaries
and affiliates at any time within the three years prior to the filing
of the complaint "through the date of the final disposition
of this action (the 'Federal FLSA Period') or limitations periods
as provided for in the applicable state wage and hourlaws and/or
regulations (the 'State Periods') that exceed the federal FLSA Period"
are eligible to participate in the class-action suit.
Joseph M. Sokolwski and Lindsay J. Zamzow of Fredrikson & Byron
P.A. in Minneapolis, who are defending ABRA in the case, filed a
request on August 20 for an extension to respond to the complaint.
An extension was granted up to and including September 4 by Janie
S. Mayeron, magistrate judge.
The plaintiffs are represented by Clayton D. Halunen of Halunen
& Associates in Minneapolis.
At press time, ABRA spokesperson Victoria Reinart said the company
was in the process of issuing a statement about the suit.
Halunen could not be reached for comment.
HERE for the full text of the complaint.
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