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Target Misclassification of Executive Team Leaders HR California Class Action

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The complaint for this class action alleges that Target Corporation misclassified some of its employees as exempt from overtime and other legal labor requirements. In this case, it’s employees who held the position of Executive Team Leader—Human Resources (ETL-HR), who allegedly did not spend most of their time performing managerial functions. The laws referenced are state laws—primarily the California Labor Law and the state’s Industrial Welfare Commission (WC) Wage Orders.

The class for this action is all persons who are or were employed by Target in California in the position of Executive Team Leader—Human Resources or similar positions who were paid a salary and classified as exempt, between July 5, 2015 and the resolution of this lawsuit.

Sergio Garcia worked as an ETL-HR from around June 2016 to around May 2018. Target classified this position as exempt. Garcia worked five to six days a week, ten to twelve hours per shift. For some shifts, he was required to work more than twelve hours, but because he was supposedly exempt, he was not paid overtime. However, the complaint says that he should not have been classified as exempt.

While managerial work is generally considered exempt, the complaint says Garcia did not 

spend 50% of his working hours doing this kind of work. According to the complaint, he spent more than 50% of his time in hourly, non-exempt duties, such as covering for non-exempt employees during their rest and meal breaks, re-stocking shelves, cleaning and taking out trash, fixing displays, helping customers, and working as a barista for the in-store Starbucks.

Also, Garcia and other ETL-HRs do not exercise independent judgment and discretion in their primary job duties. They do review resumes and set up interviews, but they do not have the authority to hire all employees, and they cannot fire employees without approval from higher-ranking managers. Most of their hours on the job are not spent in supervising others, but rather in assisting non-exempt employees in their tasks. 

Because of time constraints and workloads, ETL-HRs do not normally have time to take uninterrupted meal periods or rest breaks. They were also not given the extra compensation employees are supposed to receive for missed meals and rest breaks. 

In addition, ETL-HRs were required to use the app GroupMe on their personal cell phones in the performance of their duties, but they were not reimbursed for the use of those cell phones.

Because of all this, the complaint says Target did not maintain accurate records and give Garcia and other ETL-HRs itemized wage statements. Because their work hours should have included overtime hours paid at overtime rates, the complaint also claims that not all earned wages were paid to them in a timely manner.

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