2014-05-30 / State

Ex-worker sues Dunham’s Sports for overtime pay

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A former assistant manager of a western Pennsylvania Dunham’s Sports store has sued the Michigan based chain, accusing the company of circumventing federal overtime pay laws by having its assistant managers perform mostly manual labor, including opening new stores.

The former worker, Jason Vasil, who now lives in Surprise, Arizona, is seeking class-action status for his lawsuit because he contends the company routinely flouted overtime laws by having its assistant managers be exempt from hourly overtime, even though he says the assistants spent about 80 percent of their time on non-managerial tasks.

He’s suing the company’s parent firm, Dunham’s Athleisure Corp., which does business as Dunham’s with more than 200 stores in 17 states, mostly in the Midwest and South. A spokesman with the Troy, Michigan, sporting goods chain did not immediately return a call about the federal lawsuit filed late Wednesday in Pittsburgh.

Vasil lived in Sharon, Pennsylvania, and worked at the company’s store in nearby Hermitage from July 2012 through last month. Vasil contends he routinely worked more than 40 hours a week, and often more than 50 hours, for a salary instead of an hourly wage for which he could have earned overtime.

Vasil contends Dunham’s assistant managers “performed managerial duties approximately less than 20 percent of the time during the week.” Assistant managers didn’t interview, hire or fire employees; didn’t review employees’ performance; and didn’t decide whether underlings received raises, the lawsuit said.

Instead, the assistant managers spent most of their time on “non-managerial functions” including running cash registers, assisting customers, stocking shelves, unloading trucks and other light maintenance and janitorial duties.

The lawsuit also contends Dunham’s would use dozens of assistant managers to set up new store locations, requiring some to drive six to 20 hours from their own store locations, and then working 12 to 15 hours per day for four or five days to open up a new store.

The assistant managers would stay in hotel rooms overnight and were not paid overtime, the lawsuit contends.

“The defendant utilized assistant store managers to perform this work as a way to reduce labor costs associated with the grand opening of a new store location,” the lawsuit said.

According to its website, the chain grew out of a single Dunham’s Bait and Tackle shop that opened in 1937 in Waterford, Michigan. The company now has stores in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

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