Lawsuit claims Covelli’s Paneras failed to pay overtime

By Justin Wier

jwier@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

A Medina woman filed a class-action lawsuit against Covelli Enterprises, accusing it of failing to pay overtime to assistant managers at its Panera Bread locations.

Erin Kis, who filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court, claims she regularly worked more than 40 hours as an assistant manager at a Panera Bread in Wadsworth as required by Covelli Enterprises, yet she received pay for only 40 hours per week.

Managers are often exempt from overtime. The lawsuit contends that the assistant managers did not perform executive and administrative functions as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act and therefore were not exempt.

Covelli Enterprises issued a statement calling the accusations false.

“These are salaried employees, who our company is vigilant about paying fairly and in compliance with all wage and hour laws,” the statement read. “Unfortunately, these types of frivolous lawsuits involving salaried managers have become too commonplace in the service industry.”

The statement goes on to say the company looks forward to seeing the case dismissed.

Kis seeks to form a federal collective group of all individuals at Covelli’s Panera locations who were employed or are now working as assistant managers in the past three years, and an Ohio class of all such individuals employed in Ohio in the past two years.

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

In addition to asking the judge to certify the lawsuit as a class and collective action, it asks for compensatory and liquidated damages equal to 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for all overtime hours worked and damages in an amount equal to 6 percent of the unpaid overtime or $200, whichever is greater.

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