NASHVILLE -- A class action lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee against supermarket chain Ingles Markets, Inc. The suit claims that Ingles violates federal labor laws with its pay practices regarding wages and overtime pay.
Nathan D. Gilliard, a store co-manager from Madisonville, Tenn. and plaintiff, alleges the company willfully fails to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The lawsuit, filed by the law firms of Outten & Golden LLP and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, alleges that the Black Mountain, N.C.-based company has a "policy to deprive its salaried non-exempt employees" of earned overtime wages as legally required. The company operates more than 200 stores in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
Mr. Gilliard is represented by Justin M. Swartz and Juno Turner, of Outten & Golden LLP, in New York; and Elizabeth Alexander, of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, of Nashville.
Juno Turner, of Outten & Golden LLP, said, "We hope this litigation leads the supermarket industry to conform with federal labor laws. Mr. Gilliard and the company's other hard-working employees are entitled by law to take home the pay they have earned."
Elizabeth Alexander, of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, said, "Ingles has systematically denied its workers the overtime wages they are due under the law. This lawsuit seeks to have Ingles give those workers their fair compensation."
"I worked long hours at the request of Ingles in order to serve my customers and help make Ingles Markets successful," stated plaintiff Gilliard, of Madisonville, Tennessee. He added, "Ingles didn't pay me what it was required to pay me for overtime. We just want to be paid a fair wage for all the hours we've worked."
The law firms are seeking to have the lawsuit certified as a class action to recover unpaid wages, liquidated damages, interest, attorneys' fees, and court costs for eligible Ingles Markets workers who choose to participate in the lawsuit.