Last week, health supplement retailer Vitamin Shoppe Industries Inc. (“Vitamin Shoppe”) settled the final portion of a class action lawsuit which had alleged that the company mislabeled many of its store clerks as managers in an attempt to avoid paying them overtime wages.
The settlement involves an agreement between Vitamin Shoppe and the suit’s lead plaintiff, Julio Vasquez, who alleged that the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by giving him the title of store manager in order to avoid paying him and others overtime pay.
Vasquez brought suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in November 2010 and claimed that Vitamin Shoppe listed him and over 400 other store clerks as “store managers” so the company could pay the clerks salaries and not be liable for paying overtime wages required by the FLSA.
In July 2011 Judge Laura Taylor Swaine decided not to certify a class of over 400 employees from across the company’s branches in 40 states but instead certified a smaller class consisting of employees from just seven of Vitamin Shoppe’s stores clustered around the New York City area.
In her ruling, Judge Swain wrote that the “plaintiff [did] not meet his burden” of showing that Vitamin Shoppe had misclassified its store clerks across all of the company’s locations sufficient for nationwide class certification.
The current settlement does not reveal the terms of the agreement apart from stipulating that it resolves the lawsuit in its entirety.