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Price Chopper Sued Over Denying Overtime to 'Team Leaders'

Albany Times Union—By Tim O'Brien

Price Chopper faces a class-action lawsuit alleging that it misclassified workers as supervisors to avoid paying them overtime.

The suit was filed Wednesday in Massachusetts federal court by two law firms, Cohen Kinne Valicenti & Cook LLP and Outten & Golden LLP.

The lawsuit was brought by Shelly J. Davine on behalf of herself and other workers in the class she seeks to represent. Davine was a team leader and department manager in three different Price Chopper stores in North Adams, Lenox and Lee, Mass., from 1983 through June this year.

"They classified her as an exempt manager, but her primary duties were not management," said Rachel Bien, an attorney representing Davine in the lawsuit.

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Davine did the same tasks as other employees who were paid overtime, Bien said: dealing with customers, cleaning, and keeping the store organized.

The other employees were paid overtime after 40 hours a week but Davine and other "team leaders" were not. According to the lawsuit, Davine worked more than 45 hours a week, and often 50 hours a week, without added compensation.

While the lawsuit is filed in Massachusetts, where Davine worked, it is being filed on behalf of workers at all Price Chopper stores including those in New York, Bien said.

"It includes federal claims on behalf of all Price Chopper's team leaders and department managers," the attorney said. "We estimate there is probably several hundred people."

The lawyers are seeking the court's approval to inform Price Chopper's team leaders and department managers about the suit so they can join it, and they are asking for a trial by jury.