Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, February 9, 2004


Page 3


Big Lots Settles Lawsuit Over California Managers’ Overtime Pay


From Staff and Wire Service Reports


Big Lots Inc. has agreed to pay $10 million to settle a class action that claimed the Ohio-based retailer did not compensate hundreds of its California store managers for working overtime.

The 1,451 store managers who signed on to the lawsuit alleged Big Lots unfairly exempted them from overtime eligibility when they were required to perform clerical and other duties.

“I’m finally being compensated for the overtime I did,” Dana V. Green, the lead plaintiff in the case, said Thursday.

Green, who stopped working for the company in 2000, said he expected to receive at least $100,000 from the settlement.

“This is not money being given to me,” said Green, who lives in Long Beach. “This is money I earned.”

Green and the other plaintiffs will get settlements based on a complex formula that calculates their time with the company.

The Columbus, Ohio-based company did not admit any wrongdoing.

“Obviously we thought it was in the company’s best interest to settle,” said Charles Haubiel, a vice president and general counsel for Big Lots. “The California law is more stringent.”

Under state laws, workers classified as managers are eligible for overtime pay at time-and-a-half if they spend more than half their time performing non-supervisory work.

The Big Lots case was originally several cases, some filed against other discount retailers—such as Pic ‘N’ Save and MacFrugal’s Bargains CloseOuts—later acquired by Big Lots. The cases, filed in 2000 and 2002, were combined into one class-action suit.

The company’s stock closed up 9 cents to $14.56 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Big Lots has 1,400 stores nationwide and 191 in California. The retailer employs 45,000 people nationwide.

 Century City-based Quisenberry Law Firm served as plaintiff’s counsel. In a similar case, Quisenberry currently represents three Wal-Mart assistant managers who have sued the retailer, claiming that it forced them to work overtime without pay and denied them breaks.


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