Panera’s largest franchise is being sued by a group of
Assistant Managers for allegedly violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by
failing to pay them the proper overtime required by law.
According to the complaint, Covelli Enterprises misclassified its Assistant
Mangers as exempt and deprived them of overtime wages when they worked more than
40 hours a week. Attorneys for the employees argue that despite their managerial
title, the workers were not true managers and did not excise management
authority. The assistant managers allege that they were required to routinely
perform non-managerial duties, including taking customer orders, serving
customers, preparing food, working the cash register, checking inventory and
cleaning the restaurant.
Chelsea Romano, the Assistant Manager who initiated the
suit, worked approximately 50-55 hours per week, but was not paid the proper
overtime wage of time and a half for the 10-15 hours that she worked in excess
of 40 hours per week. She claims that other employees had similar job duties
and were subject to Panera’s common compensation practices of being
misclassified as Assistant Managers and working similar hours without receiving
proper overtime pay compensation. Romano further alleges that Panera failed to keep accurate
records of the hours she and the members of the collective worked.
Covelli Enterprises, operates more than 260 Panera Bread
bakery’ cafes in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky Florida, And