Thousands of Cashiers, Clerks, Grocery, Baker, and Deli Workers Allegedly Forced to Work “Off-The-Clock” And Denied Overtime Pay
NEW YORK–LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – Piper Hoffman of Outten & Golden, LLP and Rachel Geman of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP announced that New York State Supreme Court Judge Herman Cahn entered an Order on July 3, 2007 granting class certification to claims by Benedetto LaMarca, Delores Guiddy, and Steven Tedesco that The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, The Food Emporium, and Waldbaum’s, all part of parent company A&P, systematically denied overtime pay to their hourly employees. This Order means that the case will continue on behalf of thousands of cashiers, clerks, bakers, deli, and other hourly-paid workers in New York State who are challenging A&P’s alleged failure to pay overtime since 1998.
“I am trying to seek a fair deal for myself and other workers –you should get paid for all the hours that you work,” explained Steven Tedesco, Plaintiff and Court-appointed Class Representative. Tedesco worked in a variety of positions, including as a clerk and night manager, at Waldbaum’s stores in Long Island. Plaintiff and Court-appointed Class Representative Benedetto LaMarca, who worked in the produce department at A&P stores in Westchester, said, “I worked hard for 12 years at A&P. It wasn’t right that they didn’t pay me overtime I’d earned.” A third Plaintiff and Court-appointed Class Representative, Dolores Guiddy, worked in the bakery department at the Mamaroneck Food Emporium store.
“We are pleased that the Court recognized that the workers’ claims against A&P for willfully forcing employees to work ‘off-the-clock’ to reduce payroll expenditures are suitable for review on a class-wide basis,” said Rachel Geman, a partner at Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein.
Explained Piper Hoffman, a partner at Outten & Golden LLP, “New York law prohibits companies, like A&P, from making employees work over 40 hours a week without receiving overtime pay. We intend to prove at trial that A&P’s wage and hour practices towards low-paid employees were unfair and illegal.”
A&P operates on or about 140 stores in New York state, with a strong presence in the five boroughs, Long Island, and Westchester.
The Class Action originated on June 24, 1998, when former employees of A&P brought a lawsuit in New York State Court alleging that A&P illegally allowed off-the-clock work throughout its stores, and even overtly manipulated employees’ time records.
Plaintiffs asked the Court to grant the case Class Action status, which allows them to represent a Class of full-time, hourly-paid employees at A&P who worked overtime for which they were not paid.
Plaintiffs offered evidence that A&P systematically deprived employees of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 a week, and that company officials were well aware of the continuing violations. For example, Plaintiffs presented the Court with internal company audits conducted by trained auditors that found that stores deleted employees’ hours to avoid having to pay for overtime, and with store-wide memos confirming rampant time-keeping problems.
In the Class Certification Order, the Court ordered that Plaintiffs could represent a Class of:
All full-time hourly employees of Defendants who are employed in
Defendants’ supermarket stores located in the State of New York,
for the period from June 24, 1998 through the date of the commencement
of the action, whom Defendants required or permitted to perform work
in excess of 40 hours per week without being paid overtime wages.
The Court also appointed Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP and Outten & Golden LLP to serve as Class Counsel.
Reporters seeking further information on the A&P class action or a copy of the Court’s Order should contact attorney Rachel Geman at (212) 355-9500 or Piper Hoffman at (212) 245-1000.
About Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
With three offices nationwide and on the web at www.lieffcabraser.com, Lieff Cabraser is one of the largest law firms in America dedicated solely to advancing the rights of plaintiffs. For the last four years, The National Law Journal has selected Lieff Cabraser as one of the top plaintiffs’ law firms in the United States.
About Outten & Golden LLP
Outten & Golden, www.outtengolden.com, represents only employees in both class actions and individual matters. Through its class-based litigation efforts, Outten & Golden has obtained well in excess of $100,000,000 in back wages, together with substantial injunctive relief, and other benefits on behalf of tens of thousands of workers throughout the United States. Currently, the firm is actively prosecuting systemic discrimination class actions against major employers as well as litigating nationwide overtime class actions in courts in New York and California. Chambers & Partners USA recognized that “Outten & Golden is famed in the market for its successful advice on class actions. Discrimination claims, and wage and hour issues form just a portion of the cases it undertakes against corporate giants like MetLife and Wal-Mart.”