Stillman, et al. v. Staples, Inc., 07-CV-849 (D.N.J., February 20, 2009) – A federal jury sitting in Newark, New Jersey awarded $2.5 million in damages to 343 sales managers who claimed that Staples misclassified them as exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and failed to pay them overtime. The jury rejected Staples’ argument that it went to great lengths to ensure its classification of sales managers complied with the FLSA, including hiring an independent consultant who extensively analyzed the facts and concluded that the sales managers were in fact managing rather than performing hourly work.
Because the jury found that Staples’ violation of the FLSA was willful, the court will consider whether to impose liquidated damages in an amount equal to the jury verdict, as well as attorneys’ fees.
Note: This article was published in the March 2009 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.