T.J. Maxx owner faces lawsuit in Las Vegas over employee pay

The owner of the T.J. Maxx retail chain was sued in Las Vegas on Monday over allegations salaried shift supervisors at a local warehouse have been improperly classified as managers and denied overtime wages.

The defendant is The TJX Companies Inc., which is based in Framingham, Mass., and had some $22 billion in revenue in 2010. In Nevada, the company has seven T.J. Maxx stores, eight Marshalls stores and four HomeGoods outlets, its annual report says.

Monday's lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for Nevada, was filed by attorneys for plaintiffs Carolyn Dunn Luksza and Patricia Foser and seeks class-action status to represent themselves and all other similarly situated persons who consent in writing to joining the suit.

An exhibit to the lawsuit indicates those eligible to join the suit are TJX shift supervisors in Nevada – including an estimated 40 to 60 such supervisors at the company's 713,000-square-foot North Las Vegas distribution warehouse.

"Plaintiffs customarily worked in excess of 40 hours per week for defendants but were not paid all of their earned overtime wages for their time worked in excess of forty hours per individual workweek," the suit charges. "Plaintiffs were misclassified as 'exempt' from overtime, in violation of the (federal) Fair Labor Standards Act."

The suit also alleges violations of Nevada's state wage statute.

"Shift supervisors like plaintiffs were required to supervise line workers. Line workers package and prepare for distribution packages (usually of clothes) to TJX's T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores nationwide. Shift supervisors must maintain a quota representing the number of packages shipped per shift, per shift supervisor," the suit says.

But the supervisors are not professionals, executives or administrators as defined by the federal law as they do not have authority to make independent decisions or formulate policies, the lawsuit alleges.

"Shift supervisors are employees whose primary function is manual labor and exercise no (or if any, very little) discretion or independent judgment while acting as shift supervisors," the suit says.

A spokeswoman said TJX does not comment on pending litigation. But in its annual report in March, TJX said it was already defending against several employee lawsuits including two wage and hour class actions in Texas and California; and four supervisor exempt status cases in New York.

"The lawsuits allege violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and of state wage and hour statutes, including alleged misclassification of positions as exempt from overtime and alleged entitlement to additional wages for alleged off-the-clock work by hourly employees. The lawsuits seek unspecified monetary damages, injunctive relief and attorneys' fees. TJX is vigorously defending these claims," the report said.

The supervisors suing Monday in Las Vegas are represented by attorneys with the Las Vegas firm Cogburn Law Offices and the firm Parker Scheer.