Assistant managers at Noodles and Company filed a class action lawsuit claiming that they were denied overtime for hours they worked over forty in a workweek. The lawsuit charges that Noodles misclassified the assistant managers as “exempt” from the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act in order to deny them overtime wages. Noodles, a nationwide restaurant chain that offers international and American noodle dishes, has almost 500 “fast casual” restaurants throughout the United States.
Under Noodles’ nationwide policy, assistant mangers are uniformly classified as exempt from federal and state overtime provisions and restaurants do not pay the assistant managers any overtime wages. The federal court lawsuit claims that the assistant managers customarily and regularly prepared food, cooked, cashiered, stocked inventory, cleaned, and served as customer service representative. These duties are the same as the duties performed by hourly-paid employees. The complaint also states that assistant managers did not have authority to engage in customary management duties, such as creating or implementing management policies, setting employee wages, or hiring/firing employees. Instead, the assistant managers had to follow the policies and practices Noodles established. The assistant managers seek unpaid overtime wages, liquidated damages, and attorneys’ fees.