Casey's sued by cooks, cashiers claiming overtime pay violations
By The Associated Press
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Convenience store chain Casey's General Stores Inc., already sued by managers who claimed they weren't paid overtime, faces a new lawsuit in federal court by cooks and cashiers making similar claims.|
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court says Ankeny-based Casey's wrongfully denied overtime pay and wages to current and former Casey's hourly employees. It alleges that Casey's violated federal and state law by working cooks and cashiers off-the-clock to avoid paying overtime wages as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act and state laws.
Court documents allege about 20,000 employees are included in the class and said claims exceed $5 million.
Casey's has more than 1,460 stores in seven Midwest states including Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
"I was expected to and repeatedly did show up early and stay late for Casey's," former Iowa Casey's employee and plaintiff Connie Wineland said in a statement released Monday by plaintiffs' attorneys. "I want to be paid for all of the time I worked at Casey's."
The employees are represented by the Peters Law Firm, of Council Bluffs; Washington-based Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca; Stephan Zouras, of Chicago; and Hudson Mallaney & Shindler, of Des Moines.
"These are hardworking employees who deserve to be paid for every minute of time they work," said Scott Peters. "Employees should not be expected to 'donate' their time to Casey's."
The workers claim they were asked to perform tasks before and after their shifts including cleaning, counting the cash register and selling items to customers.
They also claim they were denied mandatory meal and rest breaks.
The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and unpaid back wages, liquidated damages allowed under federal labor statutes, certification of class action and equitable relief as permitted under individual state laws.
A telephone message left Monday for a Casey's spokesman was not immediately returned.
The company's attorney, Eli Wirtz, declined comment.
On May 30, 2007, two assistant managers filed a lawsuit claiming the company heavily relied on assistant managers to pick up the slack and keep stores running but failed to pay overtime.
In that case, the employees also sought class action status saying thousands of current and former managers could be involved.
The company filed documents in that case in which it denied improper conduct. The company said it acted in good faith and relied on state labor regulations and made a good faith effort to comply with federal labor standards.
"To the extent that any violation occurred (which defendant denies), any such violation was aberrant and inconsistent with defendant's good faith efforts," the company said in court documents.
Shares were trading down 44 cents, or 1.6 percent, at $27.96 on Monday. Shares have traded between $23.02 and $31.39 in the past 52 weeks.
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