Supreme Court May Hear FLSA Case Finding Owner Personally Liable For FLSA Violations

The owner of grocery chain Gristedes Foods Inc. has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the recent decision finding him personally liable as an “employer” under the Fair Labor Standards Act. This summer, A New York court determined that grocery magnate John Catsimatidis, could be held personally liable for settlement payments in a wage and hour class action lawsuit totaling closed to $2million. The settlement came as the result of claims that grocery store chain violated workers rights to overtime under federal law. However after the company ran out of money to pay the workers, a New York court determined that Gristedes must personally continue making the payments.

If you have questions about the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) its critical you consult with a top Atlanta wage and hour attorney for an immediate case evaluation.

Overtime lawsuits may be filed where companies fail to pay workers the overtime pay or other wages they are entitled to. The overtime law states that all employees who are not exempt from the FLSA must be paid at a rate of one and one half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in any workweek.

Here, the petition asserts that the high court should take the case to decide whether an individual may be held personally liable for a corporation’s violation of the FLSA because the individual had general control over corporate affairs but exercised “no personal responsibility” over the conduct that caused the violation.

Whether the court will hear this case is unknown. Two lower courts have found that Catsimatidis should pay the money owed to the worker. First, the lower court found that Catsimatidis was intimately involved in the day-to-day operations of the store, and as a result could be considered the “employer” and personally responsible to the employees. Catsimatidis had personal contact with the employees, stores, vendors, and customers. He also signed paychecks and supervised certain managerial personnel. This level of involvement created an employer/employee relationship and as a result, he was liable for paying damages after the business defaulted on its payments.

The appeals court also agreed, finding that Catsimatidis counted as an employer under the law because he had functional control over the enterprise as a whole and was heavily involved in the company’s daily operations, often visiting stores on weekends and making changes to local promotions and displays. The outcome of this case could have great significance for both employees and employers, helping to ensure workers get all the pay they deserve from the responsible parties.

For more information or if you believe that you have not received all the compensation you deserve, please contact the top Georgia wage and hour attorneys at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.