Covelli Enterprises sued; company calls suit 'frivolous'


WARREN — Covelli Enterprises Inc. of Warren is dismissing as “frivolous” a Virginia woman’s lawsuit that claims the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Chelsea Romano, who worked as an assistant manager for Panera Bread from September 2014 through August 2016 in Johnstown, Pa., said in the lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court that despite having a managerial title she did not perform managerial duties.

“Assistant managers are not true managers and do not exercise management authority,” she claims in the lawsuit. “Instead, among other things, these purported managers take customer orders, serve customers, cook food, work with the cash register, check inventory, clean the store, and perform other non-managerial duties.”

The assistant managers were exempt from federal overtime compensation.

“The accusations in the complaint are 100 percent false,” said Allen Ryan, Covelli spokesman. “These are salaried employees, who our company is vigilant about paying fairly and in compliance with all wage and hour laws.”

Warren-based Covelli owns and operates more than 300 Panera locations in Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and South Carolina, according to its website.

For the complete story, read Friday's Vindicator and Vindy.com

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