Gristede’s Loses Overtime Class-Action Suit

New York City A federal judge has granted summary judgment in favor of more than 400 current and former co-managers and department managers of Gristede’s on their claims that the New York City grocery-store chain violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the New York Labor Law by failing to pay them proper overtime compensation for hundreds of thousands of overtime hours.

U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty of the Southern District ruled Thursday that Gristede's unlawfully "sought to treat workers as 'hourly' for some purposes (i.e., docking them for hours not worked during the workweek), but 'salaried' for other purposes (i.e., not paying them overtime for hours worked in excess of the workweek)."

The judge also ruled that Gristede's unlawfully retaliated against two of the plaintiffs by filing “flimsy” counterclaims against them.

The workers will seek nearly $15 million in back pay and damages for salaried employees and $10 million for hourly employees, according to Outten & Golden, the law firm representing the workers in their class-action lawsuit.

This is not the first time Gristedes has been hit with a class-action suit.

In 2003, the chain and its chief executive, John Catsimatidis, settled a minimum-wage class action for $3 million. A multimillionaire, Catsimatidis is reportedly considering a run for mayor of New York City in 2009.