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Lowe’s failed to pay former store managers properly, class-action lawsuit claims

Lowe’s eliminating 200 jobs, relocating employees

Lowe’s is making major changes in its Charlotte-area workforce that involve cutting over 200 jobs in Charlotte and relocating about 600 from Wilkesboro to its Mooresville headquarters.
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Lowe’s is making major changes in its Charlotte-area workforce that involve cutting over 200 jobs in Charlotte and relocating about 600 from Wilkesboro to its Mooresville headquarters.

A class-action lawsuit filed against Lowe’s last week alleges that the Mooresville-based retailer failed to compensate certain store managers for work they performed.

According to the complaint, Lowe’s requires hourly managers, who are not exempt from overtime regulations, to work a full-time schedule plus overtime, but does not pay them for all of their hours worked. For instance, some managers have to do work before and after their scheduled shifts and during their meal periods, when they’re not clocked in, the complaint stated.

The complaint cites a couple specific instances of how Lowe’s allegedly failed to adequately compensate store managers for all of their hours worked.

The complaint alleges that Lowe’s requires some managers to read and respond to their work email from their smart phones during non-work hours, but does not compensate them for that time, for example.

The complaint also alleges that Lowe’s requires certain managers to come to work early to perform a “sweep” of the store property in their car. In fact, according to the complaint, managers perform several duties before and after their shifts that they’re not paid for, including arming and disarming the alarm system.

These actions constitute a willful violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to the complaint.

“Plaintiffs and hourly managers spend significant time performing this off-the-clock work, but defendants do not compensate them for it. Because much of this time qualifies as overtime within the meaning of applicable federal and state laws, plaintiffs and hourly managers are owed overtime pay for this uncompensated, off-the-clock work,” the complaint reads.

Daniel Danford and Harry Houtman, former managers of a Lowe’s store in Raleigh, filed the lawsuit alongside managers in similar situations who have worked at Lowe’s within the last three years in order to “recover unpaid off-the-clock work and overtime wages.”

As one example cited in the complaint, given the amount of overtime work Houtman did during a two-week pay period this year, he should have been paid an additional 160 to 215 minutes at his overtime rate of $39.04 per hour.

“Lowe’s has no comment about this pending litigation at this time,” Lowe’s spokesman Steve Salazar said in an email.

This manager compensation lawsuit is the latest employee-related legal matter Lowe’s is dealing with.

Another ongoing lawsuit, filed in 2017, involves racial discrimination allegations from a former African-American executive who says he was wrongfully terminated from the company. Lowe’s is still trying to keep documents related to that case sealed.

Lowe’s is in the midst of a transformation spearheaded by Marvin Ellison, who took over as CEO in July. As part of that, Lowe’s said this month it is making major changes in its Charlotte-area workforce that involve cutting hundreds of jobs and relocating hundreds more from Wilkesboro to its headquarters in Mooresville.

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As the retail and sports business reporter for the Observer, Katie Peralta covers everything from grocery-store competition in Charlotte to tax breaks for pro sports teams. She is a Chicago native and graduate of the University of Notre Dame.


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