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Lawsuit: Price Chopper Dodged Paying OT

Register-Star—By Arthur Cusano Columbia-Greene Media

A class-action lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Massachusetts on behalf of a Price Chopper employee accusing the company of trying to cheat employees out of overtime benefits due them.

The law firms Cohen, Kinne, Valicenti & Cook LLP, which has three Massachusetts offices including one in Pittsfield, and Outten & Golden LLP of New York filed the claim alleging Price Chopper misclassified workers in all of its stores in order to avoid paying overtime compensation, which the law firms claim is in violation of federal and state wage laws.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of plaintiff Shelly J. Davine, who was employed as a department team leader and a department manager in three Massachusetts Price Chopper stores in North Adams, Lenox and Lee from 1983 through 2014. The suit, "Shelly J. Davine, et al., v. The Golub Corporation, et al," Civil Action No. 14-cv-30136 was filed in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts and claims Davine regularly worked more than 45 hours a week without being paid proper overtime compensation.

The lawsuit claims Price Chopper reduces its labor costs by unlawfully classifying its department team leaders as managers, even though they did the same work as other hourly employees. The plaintiff was exempt from overtime protections, requiring her and others like her to work well over 40 hours a week without receiving overtime pay that the law requires.

“They made her believe it was a managerial position, but it wasn’t,” said attorney Kevin Kinne, of Cohen, Kinne, Valicenti and Cook. “They called her ‘salary,’ but her paystubs showed she was paid an hourly rate.”

Price Chopper, which is owned by Golub Corporation of Schenectady, owns 135 stores in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.

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