Employees usually understand when circumstances don’t permit them to take an uninterrupted meal break at certain times. But to prevent them from simply being taken advantage of, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires they be given something else instead: additional pay. The complaint for this class action alleges that Target Corporation does not give all its employees either uninterrupted meal breaks or the extra pay they’re entitled to but subtracts the meal time from their day whether they’ve had the meal or not.
Plaintiff Michael Smith worked for Target for almost twenty years. Between December 2015 and October 2018, he worked as a Senior Team Leader in a Yukon, Oklahoma Target store.
On some days, he sometimes acted as the Leader on Duty (LOD). This means that he was the senior-most Target employee in the store, which required him to always be on duty during these shifts. The complaint says, “It would be fair to say that for any issues that arise in the store ‘the buck stops’ with the LOD.” LODs are therefore “always on duty, subject to being called to do whatever was necessary to run the store or address problems.”
However, the complaint alleges that Target subtracted thirty minutes from his pay, as if he’d taken a meal break.
The complaint alleges that this was a common practice of Target for employees who were acting in the LOD capacity. According to the complaint, Smith “believe that Target subjects employees in the LOD capacity to this policy or practice of nonpayment of wages, including failure to pay overtime wages when appropriate, and that this occurs throughout Target’s retail locations throughout the United States and [affects] thousands of other Target current or former employees who work as LODs for Target.”
If LODs like Smith are indeed required to forfeit their meal breaks and remain on duty, they should not have thirty minutes taken out of their pay for a meal they did not get to take. They should also receive a premium payment for the missed meal. Finally, the missed meal period and the extra thirty minutes in their work day or work week may result in the need to pay overtime wages as well.
The collective class for this action is all individuals who, on or after October 9, 2016, worked for Target as hourly workers, who periodically acted in the LOD capacity, and who, while acting in the LOD capacity, had thirty minutes deducted from their pay for meal breaks.