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Assistant Managers at BJ’s Want Overtime

(CN) - Restaurant chain BJ's denies overtime, as well as meal and rest breaks, to certain assistant managers, a Richmond, Calif., woman claims in a class action.

Tracy Blanchard says BJ's employed her as a salaried front-house assistant manager from February 2013 to approximately April 2014 but classified her as exempt from overtime.

While working at five BJ's locations in California as an assistant manager, Blanchard says she "worked long hours."

"Plaintiff typically worked approximately fifty (50) to sixty (60) hours per week," the complaint complaint filed Tuesday in Orange County Superior Court states.

Blanchard says BJ's should not have exempted assistant managers like her since "their primary duty was not to manage defendants' (sic) enterprise," and the position does not qualify as a bona fide "executive."

"Rather, as front house assistant managers, plaintiff and other aggrieved employees spent the majority of their workweeks performing the same job functions as nonexempt, hourly employees in defendants' restaurants," the complaint states.

Just like an hourly employee, assistant managers spend most of their time "greeting and seating customers, providing customer service, bussing tables, assisting with food preparation, cleaning, preparing take-out orders, and assisting servers and bartenders," according to the complaint.

Moreover, assistant managers "did not possess the authority to hire and fire employees without first obtaining approval from" BJ's, the complaint continues.

Blanchard says BJ's trains all front-house assistant managers "to competently perform all of the tasks that were also assigned to defendants' hourly, non-exempt employees."

Since BJ's evaluates these workers "based on their ability to perform these non-exempt duties," the activities were expected, according to the complaint.

Each day that BJ's assistant managers "did not receive a timely uninterrupted meal period," or that they missed a rest period, they should have been paid for an additional hour at the regular rate, Blanchard also says.

Of BJ's 146 casual-dining restaurants in the United States, 64 are in California, operating under the names BJ's Restaurant & Brewery, BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse, BJ's Pizza & Grill, or BJ's Grill, the complaint states.

Blanchard allegedly worked at BJ's locations in Vacaville, Natomas, Roseville, San Mateo and San Bruno.

She seeks unpaid wages and civil penalties under California labor law.

Raul Perez of Capstone Law in Los Angeles filed the class action.

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