December 13, 2022
Iowa-based Casey’s General Stores Inc. is now facing two potential class-action lawsuits over the wages paid to its employees.
The most recent of the two lawsuits was filed this week in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. In August, an almost identical lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee.
South Dakota Searchlight reporter Clark Kauffman says the two lawsuits allege the convenience store chain, which has 40,000 employees in 16 states. including South Dakota, has “utilized three methods to cheat” workers out of overtime wages.
First, the lawsuits allege, district managers or salaried store managers have induced or required hourly employees to perform work after they are “clocked out” and, in theory, not working. In addition, the company has allegedly induced or required hourly employees to work through their 30-minute unpaid dinner breaks. The company also is accused of using its salaried managers to edit the payroll records of hourly employees so they reflected fewer hours than are actually worked.
As a result, the lawsuits allege, the company has failed to pay its workers for all of the overtime hours they have worked.
The Iowa lawsuit is filed on behalf of Derek Powell, a current or former Casey’s employee, and any similarly situated Casey’s workers who may have been denied overtime pay.
The Tennessee case is filed on behalf of Beverly Willis, a Casey’s cashier from Camden, Tennessee. In the four months since that lawsuit was filed, five other plaintiffs have joined the case and their attorneys are now seeking class-action status.
As part of the Tennessee case, the plaintiffs allege there is “a top-down scheme to save on labor costs,” with salaried managers being given “a strict labor budget” for their stores. One of the plaintiffs alleges a district manager came into her store and told the store manager “he had to cut hours and to ‘figure it out.’” Another claims she and her colleagues were regularly asked to work off the clock until certain tasks were completed or the next shift’s workers showed up.
Casey’s has denied any wrongdoing in the case.
In November of last year, Casey’s was sued on behalf of one Iowa employee, Jolene Greever of Davis County, for allegedly short-changing its pizza-delivery drivers on their wages. The company was accused of paying drivers a flat rate of $2 per delivery, without tracking the drivers’ actual vehicle expenses or making any attempt to reimburse them for gas or other specific expenses tied to the use of their vehicles.
Lawyers for Greever claimed the flat-rate payment plan shortchanged the drivers at a rate of 23 cents per mile. Assuming the Casey’s drivers averaged three six-mile deliveries each hour, they were, in effect, “kicking back” to their employer $4.14 per hour from their own earnings ($1.38 per delivery, multiplied by three deliveries per hour), the lawsuit claimed.
Casey’s denied any wrongdoing, and the case was settled in September with the company agreeing to pay $3,000 to Greever. Court records indicate the settlement agreement has no impact on the rights of any other individuals who may have a similar claim against Casey’s.
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