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Publix Settles Overtime Pay Case

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Publix Super Markets has agreed to pay $30 million to settle a lengthy legal battle about overtime pay.

The Ledger reports that the settlement was approved the first week of February in Tennessee federal court, bringing an end to a collective lawsuit filed in May 2012.

Lakeland, Florida-based Publix had been accused of failing to pay required amounts of overtime compensation to department and assistant department managers who were paid on a “fluctuating work week” basis.

Specifically, Publix was accused of failing to include holiday bonuses, holiday pay and other items when calculating overtime pay rates, and not meeting legal requirements in its pay plan.

Ultimately, about 1,580 employees joined the lawsuit.

“Publix has vigorously defended this case,” the settlement document says. “Publix denies all liability…and denies that its overtime pay plan did not meet the requirements of the fluctuating work week calculation method. In short, this case has been hotly contested.”

Under a fluctuating work week method, employees are paid a set amount every week even though the number of hours worked may vary.

The system allows for overtime hours to be paid at half a worker’s average hourly rate.

Legal documents from the case say “Publix has made major changes to its pay policies since this lawsuit began in 2012,” and that the policies in question are no longer in effect.

“Settling the lawsuit at this time was most beneficial to our stockholders, as we no longer have fluctuating work weeks,” Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous told The Ledger.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs declined to comment.

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