C&S Wholesale Grocers Overtime Wage & Hour Class Action – $14 Million Settlement

Case name: Armando Hernandez, Michael Wands, et al. v. C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc. and Richard “Rick” B. Cohen
Case type: Wage & Hour
Filed in: [U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York]
Docket: [Case no.: 06 Civ. 2675]

Case Summary

In 2006, Sanford Heisler Sharp filed a class action lawsuit under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) on behalf of manual laborers who worked as “selectors,” “hi-lo lift operators,” “back-haulers,” and “slot cleaners” for C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., a grocery supply company with more than 50 massive warehouses nationwide.

The Complaint alleged illegal labor practices through a piece-rate incentive program instituted by C&S owner Richard Cohen, which deprived workers of their fully earned wages and overtime. Workers employed as selectors, for instance, worked in teams of four to eight members whose job was to pick, wrap, check, and load grocery and freezer products, with an individual’s pay determined by the team.

While C&S touted the piece-rate incentive program as a way for workers to earn more money, in reality the program worked as a penalty system, under which C&S made unlawful deductions from workers’ earned wages when they failed to meet productivity benchmarks, encouraged them to skip meal breaks, and failed to compensate them for hours worked and overtime, the Complaint alleged.

In 2008, the parties reached a settlement of $14 million.

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Attorneys Involved in the Case