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Former Safeway Assistant Manager Wins Overtime Case

Linda Heyen successfully convinced a trial court that her employer, Safeway, had misclassified her during at least part of her working hours as "exempt" meaning she should not be paid overtime wages. Heyen was employed as an Assistant Manager, an exempt position, but spent many of her working hours completing tasks that should have been classified as non-exempt, such as bagging or cashiering.

The court awarded Heyen approximately $26,000 for overtime pay that she was due for hours she spent in what should have been a non-exempt role. Safeway appealed; it contended that even though Heyen may have spent time doing "hourly" work, she was multitasking in a managerial role and should not qualify for overtime pay.

The jury determined that Heyen had spent 108 days at 14 hours per day working in what should have been an hourly position that Safeway had instead classed as a salaried, exempt from overtime role.

On appeal, the court held that the jury had correctly decided to award Heyen overtime compensation. The test in determining whether an employee should be paid hourly, and therefore eligible for overtime pay, or should be salaried, depends on the actual tasks performed, not his or her title. When an assistant manager performs tasks that are typically completed by an hourly employee, he or she should be compensated at an hourly rate and eligible for overtime pay for all hours worked beyond eight in one day and 40 in one week.

Source: Linda M. Heyen v. Safeway

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