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No Class Certification in Wal-Mart Overtime Suit

PHILADELPHIA (CN) - Former Wal-Mart employees suffered a setback in their attempt to sue the company for misclassifying certain workers as exempt from overtime.

The plaintiffs had claimed that asset protection coordinators merit overtime pay since the position does not entail managerial duties. But Wal-Mart said the plaintiffs' work experiences did not reflect those of most coordinators, and submitted declarations by 23 coordinators to support its argument that the position has managerial components.

Allowing plaintiffs to proceed with a collective action "would require an individualized inquiry as to whether the tasks in fact performed by each putative collective action member are or were similar to the tasks that plaintiffs claim they performed," Judge Thomas O'Neill Jr. ruled in a 17-page opinion Tuesday.

It would be intolerably onerous to determine whether potential members of the class were misclassified as overtime-exempt on a case-by-case basis, the judge found, rejecting the bid for conditional collective certification.

Wal-Mart asset production coordinators generally handle programs aimed at shrink reduction, compliance and safety.

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