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Cash America Pawn (First Cash or Cash America Central) Overtime Lawsuit


A store manager at First Cash, Cash America Central or Cash America Pawn has filed an overtime complaint against the franchise chain. Plaintiff Mr. J. Martin East alleges he has been misclassified as exempt and that First Cash has failed and refused to pay him and those managers in similar positions overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a work week.

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Cash America Pawn Wage & Hour Lawsuit

The complaint was filed in February 2018 by the Crone Law Firm, attorneys for the Plaintiff, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division. According to the complaint, Cash America Pawn violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and plaintiff East seeks overtime premiums for all overtime work required.

Cash America Pawn employed East in January of 1988. By August, he was a store manager –he was paid a salary and classified as exempt-- at various locations throughout Louisiana and Tennessee until September 2017. Even though he and other store managers were given the title of “manager” they were managing in title only. In reality, their primary duties were the same as assistant managers who were paid hourly and were paid overtime premiums. East and other store managers typically worked between 45 to 60 hours per week.

Cash America Pawn Store Managers Misclassified

Federal wage and hour regulations states that employees are not eligible for overtime pay when their primary duties consist of management of the company or a department, when they regularly direct two or three other employees, when they have the authority to hire or fire, and when their weekly salary is at least $400.

Getting paid a salary is just one component of the overtime eligibility picture. The second part of the Exemption Test requires passing the job duties test. An employee must meet requirements for both tests - salary and job duties - to be legally exempt from overtime pay.

The Department of Labor (DOL) Overtime Rules

In 2016, proposed changes to overtime rules were quashed. A number of states and organizations filed lawsuits that culminated in one case, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The lawsuit asked for a preliminary injunction to halt implementation of the new rules, which were granted by Judge Amos Mazzant.

According to the DOL regulations already in place through the Department of Labor, employees whose salary is equal to or less than a minimum weekly salary of $455 a week ($23,660 annually) must receive overtime, even if they are classified as exempt. This requirement doesn't apply to outside sales employees, teachers, and employees practicing law or medicine.

Job titles do not determine exempt status. In order for an exemption to apply, an employee’s specific job duties and salary must meet all the requirements of the Department’s regulations. To qualify for the executive [management] exemption, all of the following tests must be met:
  • The employee must be compensated on a salary basis (as defined in the regulations)
  • The employee’s primary duty must be managing the enterprise, or managing a customarily recognized department or subdivision of the enterprise;
  • The employee must customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two or more other full-time employees or their equivalent; and
  • The employee must have the authority to hire or fire other employees, or the employee’s suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion or any other change of status of other employees must be given particular weight.
In his complaint, East says he had little or no discretion in interviewing or selecting employees – all hiring decisions needed approval from the store’s district manager. And managers are not in charge of the franchise location, they do not have the ability to hire and fire staff and they had no say in determining employees’ pay rates and work hours or evaluating employees’ work performance. East and other managers’ primary duties were to serve as store clerks.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Overtime

The FLSA, also known as the “Wage and Hour Bill” applies to employers who are engaged in interstate commerce. It regulates overtime, minimum wage and other labor laws. The FLSA requires that employees be compensated for overtime at the rate of 1 1/2 times their regular pay for any hours worked over 40 in a week, and employers must keep track of employees’ wages subject to overtime using a time card, time sheet, or some other record-keeping method. Almost every business in the U.S., including First Cash is covered by this act.

Unpaid Commissions and Bonuses

East argues in his complaint that the defendants did not pay 50 percent or more of his or other store manager’s earnings in commissions. The law states that you can use on-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments --including commissions-- to satisfy up to 10 percent of the standard salary requirement. To qualify as non-discretionary, the bonuses must be tied to some measure like productivity or sales or profitability. The bonuses must also be paid at least quarterly, not just at the end of the year.

The Statute of Limitations

You should also contact an attorney regarding the Statute of Limitations (SOL). Cone says the SOL for these cases is two years and three years if the violation is willful. This means that you should file a claim sooner than later as every day that passes could have the potential to disqualify you from filing an overtime complaint.

About First Cash, or Cash America Pawn

Defendant Cash America Pawn a Texas corporation, merged with Defendant Cash America Central in 2016. First Cash (also known as Cash America Pawn) owns and operates more than 900 locations stores in the United States and approximately 50 in Mexico, with approximately 3,000 store managers. It has reported gross operating revenues (profits) in excess of $500,000.

Do You Qualify for Overtime as a Cash America Pawn Store Manager?

If you’re sure you’ve been classified as exempt when you’re really nonexempt, you can sue in your local federal court and collect unpaid overtime. If you win, you could recover up to $2 for every $1 your employer failed to pay to you. However, you don’t need to end up in court. First, politely discuss with your employer why you are misclassified as exempt, and they may remedy the situation right away. (If you are worried about retaliation, remember that it’s illegal to fire an employee for pointing out this error.) If that doesn’t work, it’s best to seek legal help.

In J.Martin East v Cash America Central Inc. and First Cash Inc., the Plaintiff seeks to represent all store managers employed by the franchise chain nationwide. If you work, or did work, in this capacity from February 2015 onwards, you may be owed overtime. East is seeking money for unpaid wages, and compensatory damages and penalties in an exact amount to be determined at trial.

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Cash America Pawn Managers Deserve Overtime, Too
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Memphis, TN: Misclassifying store managers and assistant managers as exempt to avoid paying overtime is pervasive, particularly in the retail industry. Increasingly, however, employees such as managers at Cash America Pawn are understanding their rights and employers should understand that the potential consequences can be costly READ MORE

Employment Attorney Alan Crone Discusses Main Reasons for Overtime Complaints
Employment Attorney Alan Crone Discusses Main Reasons for Overtime Complaints
September 14, 2018
Memphis,TN: “We are seeing an increase in overtime complaints and in turn wage and hour lawsuits, such as the recent Cash America Pawnshop overtime lawsuit,” says employment attorney Alan Crone. Fortunately, the government and attorneys are cracking down on employers who deny employers their rights and they are helping workers to get what they are owed READ MORE
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