14 managers sue Family Dollar for forcing overtime without pay

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As a store manager for Family Dollar, Arthur Moses expected he'd be responsible for making employee schedules, doing training, hiring and figuring out the store budget.

"I didn't think I'd be mopping floors, stocking shelves, unloading trucks and cleaning toilets," Mr. Moses said.

Stuck with those tasks -- and often working in excess of 60 hours per week -- Mr. Moses, 30, of Braddock is one of 14 people who filed a lawsuit against Family Dollar Inc. Thursday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.

According to the lawsuit, Family Dollar would bestow employees with the title of "manager" so the company could avoid paying them overtime.

Maggie Coleman, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs in the case, said non-managerial duties dominated their work day. "One of the reasons they were working so many hours is because they didn't have the budget to run the stores."

All of the plaintiffs worked more than 40 hours per week and several worked more than 80 for no additional compensation, according to the complaint. Under Pennsylvania law, employees must be paid time-and-a-half for any hours worked in excess of 40.

Similar suits have been filed against Family Dollar across the country.

Mr. Moses worked for the North-Carolina-based company from 2009 until September, starting out as a cashier. He served as a store manager in McKeesport and the North Side before resigning.

Although he only was required to work 40 hours per week as a cashier, when Mr. Moses became a manager, he regularly worked 12 hours a day -- from open to close.

Oliver Holmes, 50, of East Liberty was terminated as a manager in August 2012 when he was forced to work only light duty after he was injured in an assault by a shoplifter. He said he was forced for a few weeks to serve as the manager for two stores.

Although he wanted to, Mr. Holmes said he didn't have time to look for another job and that he stayed overnight to sleep at work three nights a week -- sometimes taking his dog with him.

They were expected to stop shoplifters, and both explained instances where they were attacked -- including once when Mr. Moses was bitten.

Once, Mr. Holmes said, he sliced his finger cutting open a box and was told by his district manager to wait until after his shift to get stitches.

Family Dollar operates over 8,000 stores in the United States. A company spokeswoman could not be reached.

Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620.

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