Called A ‘Manager'? You Still May Be Entitled To Overtime

Called A ‘Manager'? You Still May Be Entitled To Overtime

The New York Times recently published a great article about tricks employers use to try to avoid paying overtime, such as labeling a worker a “manager” when he or she is really no such thing. In part, the article provides an example of a Panera Bread worker:

For four years beginning in 2014, Tiffany Palliser worked at Panera Bread in South Florida, making salads and operating the register for shifts that began at 5 a.m. and often ran late into the afternoon.

Ms. Palliser estimates that she worked at least 50 hours a week on average. But she says she did not receive overtime pay.

The reason? Panera officially considered her a manager and paid her an annual salary rather than on an hourly basis. Ms. Palliser said she was often told that “this is what you signed up for” by becoming an assistant manager.

The story then notes how employers avoid paying the require overtime:

Federal law requires employers to pay time-and-a-half overtime to hourly workers after 40 hours, and to most salaried workers whose salary is below a certain amount, currently about $35,500 a year. Companies need not pay overtime to salaried employees who make above that amount if they are bona fide managers.

Many employers say managers who earn relatively modest salaries have genuine responsibility and opportunities to advance. The National Retail Federation, a trade group, has written that such management positions are “key steps on the ladder of professional success, especially for many individuals who do not have college degrees.”

But according to a recent paper by three academics, Lauren Cohen, Umit Gurun and N. Bugra Ozel, many companies provide salaries just above the federal cutoff to frontline workers and mislabel them as managers to deny them overtime.

Lebau & Neuworth is one of the premier wage-hour law firms representing workers. We are here to fight for you, so contact us at 888-456-2529 or

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