Wawa must pay $1.4 million to settle a lawsuit that claimed the convenience store chain short-changed more than 300 assistant general managers out of overtime and wages, a federal judge ordered last week.
A federal class action suit accused Wawa of failing to pay overtime to certain employees who worked more than 40 hours a week as required by federal and state laws.
Wawa paid the assistant general managers on a salary basis exempt from overtime, even though their duties were similar to those of non-exempt, hourly paid workers, according to the complaint filed in January 2017 in U.S. District Court in Trenton. The managers’ jobs included working cash registers, making sandwiches, and stocking shelves, the complaint said.
“As a retailer operating over 720 stores throughout the country, [Wawa] knew or recklessly disregarded the fact that the [Fair Labor Standards Act] required it to pay employees primarily performing non-exempt duties an overtime premium for hours worked in excess of 40 per workweek,” the complaint said.
One of the named plaintiffs, a Morrisville man named Richard Bongiovanni, claimed he worked 55- to 60-hour weeks without receiving overtime.
Wawa did not immediately return a request for comment. The company denied any wrongdoing in court filings and argued that the workers were properly exempt from overtime requirements. Wawa made assistant general managers eligible for overtime in December 2015, according to the settlement.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Peter Sheridan approved the settlement that requires Wawa to pay $1.4 million, including more than $892,000 to 333 assistant general managers.
Each worker will receive, on average, $86.74 for each week worked, according to the court filings. A handful of workers who brought the case will receive an additional $5,000 each.