RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (CN) - Conagra Foods makes frontline supervisors work straight time for up to 70 hours a week, a worker claims in a federal class action.
Lead plaintiff Eveyln Garrison claims Conagra misclassified her as an "executive" and put her on salary and with a "non-discretionary bonus," to duck labor laws.
Garrison claims the company systematically misclassifies frontline supervisors at its Russellville plant, to stiff them for overtime.
She estimates there are 50 to 100 members of the proposed class.
Garrison says she is not an "executive," as she is not the head of a customarily recognized company subdivision - her boss was. She did not plan or control budgets, maintain production reports or sales records.
"Garrison did not have any control of or authority over any employee's rate of pay or working hours," the complaint states. "On average, Garrison worked approximately fifty (50) to seventy (70) hours per week. She did not receive any overtime compensation."
Garrison says she is aware of no cases that support ConAgra's nonpayment of overtime to low-level supervisors who do not have the power to hire and fire.
"Despite being on notice of its violations, defendant chose to continue to misclassify plaintiff and other members of the proposed collective class and withhold overtime wages to them in an effort to enhance its profits," the complaint states. "Additionally, plaintiff and some members of the proposed collective class from time to time complained to defendant about the unlawfulness of defendant's manner of payment and policies related to improper payment procedures."
She adds: "Plaintiff and some members of the proposed collective class formerly had the power to fire prior to the period covered by the relevant statute of limitations."
Garrison seeks lost wages and punitive damages for unjust enrichment, willfulness and violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and Arkansas Minimum Wage Act.
She is represented by Jon Sanford of Russellville.
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