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Court Says Family Dollar Must Pay $35.6 Million

(CN) - The 11th Circuit upheld a $35.6 million judgment against Family Dollar Stores Inc. for denying its workers overtime pay by classifying them as store managers exempt from labor laws.

An Alabama jury found the retailer in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and awarded $19 million in overtime pay to 1,424 managers, who routinely worked 60 to 90 hours a week. The district court entered a final judgment of $35.6 million - $17.8 million in overtime and equal that in liquidated damages.

Several plaintiffs said they were managers in title only and spent most of their time stocking shelves, running the cash registers, unloading trucks and mopping floors.

They claimed Family Dollar, which operates 6,000 stores nationwide, classified them as managers to avoid paying overtime wages. Family Dollar insisted the plaintiffs were "exempt executives" under federal labor law.

The federal appeals court in Atlanta concluded that "there was legally sufficient evidence - representative, direct, circumstantial, in-person, by deposition, or otherwise - to produce a reliable and just verdict."

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