Starting October 10, 2017 Arias, who has two decades of experience in the courtroom, will begin the first of 42 back-to-back individual trials on behalf of 1st and 2nd class current and former junior store managers who argue the company used their managerial designation as a way to get free work out of employees.
“These people start out thinking ‘I’m an assistant store manager and I’m getting a salary and this is great’. Then they find out they are going to work 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, and holidays while other employees in other departments get paid overtime and don’t have to do that,” says Arias from the Arias Sanguinetti Stahle & Torrijos in Los Angeles.
“What makes it worse it that the tasks they are performing are not managerial,” says Arias. “They are simply, in many cases, the stop gap for the store manager to use when it didn’t have enough payroll to properly staff the store.”
The assistant store managers claim that based on the actual hours they worked, their hourly wage is less than what a food clerk earned.
In documents filed, the assistant store managers claim that Safeway is violating and manipulating California’s labor and employment laws regarding hourly wages, break times, managerial responsibilities, exempt v. non-exempt pay scales and much more. They claim they were never paid for the overtime they worked on a weekly basis.
Arias represents plaintiffs who originally filed as a class action in 2002 against Safeway for violations under the California Labor code. It failed to get certification. The firm recently stepped in offering to file the cases individually. It’s a tactic they have used in the past when other class action wage and hour cases have failed.
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Safeway Inc., headquartered in Pleasanton, California, was established in 1915 and is one of the oldest supermarkets in the US. It is currently a subsidiary of the Albertsons Companies. Contacted for comment by LAS, Albertsons media representative Christine Wilson said, “The company does not comment on ongoing litigation.”
The first case will be Carey Coco v. Safeway, Inc. et al, Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC343337.