An employee of Starbucks is proceeding with a motion that threatens a class action lawsuit against Starbucks for unpaid overtime wages of store supervisors/managers.

How did Starbucks assume that unpaid overtime was permissible in this scenario? Under the Employment Standards Act 2000 (ESA), managers and supervisors do not qualify for overtime pay. The case will ultimately come down to the employees’ duties and tasks, and whether those duties are managerial/supervisory or not.

Managerial or supervisory tasks consist of managing the performance of other employees, ensuring daily function of staff, recruiting, setting objectives, performance management, enforcing policy (discipline, safety, etc.), task delegation, and so on.  Even if a manager or supervisor perform tasks that are usually performed by other employees, as long as this does not take up a significant amount of time, under the ESA, overtime would not apply for hours worked in excess of 44 hours per week.

Conversely, employees that are classified as managerial or supervisors by title but mainly perform tasks that are not managerial are entitled to overtime pay under the ESA. This will be the crux of the challenge if the class action lawsuit against Starbucks is permitted. If employees were erroneously classified as supervisors but were in fact not, these employees would be entitled to back-pay for unpaid overtime. This applies to workers paid on an hourly basis or salary basis.

Although the outcome is yet to be determined, employees are reminded that their title and method of payment (salary vs hourly) does not take precedent over the actual duties they perform for the purposes of overtime entitlement.

With years of experience in this ever-changing area of employment and labour law, we at Whitten & Lublin are happy to provide insight and advice into your specific circumstances. If you’re looking for employment lawyers and would like more information about what Whitten & Lublin can do for you, please contact us online or by phone at (416) 640-2667 today.

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