Former Publix Workers Sue Grocery Chain Over Federal Employment Law Violations

Former Publix Assistant Managers Sue for FLSA Violations

Former Publix Assistant Managers Sue for FLSA Violations


Several former Publix assistant managers have filed a lawsuit against the grocery chain for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938. The plaintiffs allege that Publix failed to pay them for overtime hours worked before shifts, after shifts, and during meal breaks. The lawsuit is a collective action that would include other Publix employees who were also subject to the defendant’s alleged violations of the labor law.

The Allegations

The lawsuit filed in the Middle District of Florida alleges that Publix required assistant department managers to work overtime hours but did not pay them for all hours worked. This included time spent working inside Publix stores performing pre- and post-shift work off the clock required by Publix or their supervisors; time spent working during unpaid meal breaks, and time spent outside of Publix stores communicating with supervisors and co-workers, and other directives, off the clock. According to the plaintiffs, the amount of unpaid work they performed on the job amounted to at least five overtime hours per week.

Publix’s Response

Publix has pushed back against the allegations presented by the plaintiffs. Maria Brous, a company spokeswoman, told the Florida Record in an email, “As a practice, Publix does not comment on pending litigation. However, due to the nature of the claims involved, we find it necessary to respond. As an associate-owned company, we are proud to provide our associates with a comprehensive benefits package – including company ownership – in addition to paying our associates in accordance with the law. We take these claims seriously and will respond appropriately.”

The Proposed Collective

The proposed collective outlined in the lawsuit consists of nonexempt hourly assistant department managers who worked more than 40 hours per week in Publix stores on or after Oct. 18, 2020. The in-store, off-the-clock work allegedly performed by the plaintiffs included walking departments with supervisors, cleaning, stocking, and helping store customers, according to the lawsuit. In addition, assistant managers were often interrupted during their meal breaks to handle work-related requests, such as assisting customers, finishing paperwork, and responding to other workers via texts.

Corporate Policy

The lawsuit alleges that the company should have known about the labor law violations because its managers saw the situation firsthand and allowed the unpaid work to be performed. “(The) defendant’s failure to pay (the) plaintiffs and the FLSA collective for all hours worked was due to a corporate policy to limit labor expenditures (and) preserve corporate profits,” the complaint says.

The Plaintiffs’ Demands

The former assistant managers are seeking overtime compensation and other wages to be determined at a future trial, as well as liquidated damages, prejudgment interest, attorney fees, and other compensation provided for under the FLSA.


The lawsuit filed by former Publix assistant managers highlights alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The outcome of the lawsuit could have implications for Publix and its employees, especially if the plaintiffs are successful in proving that Publix violated the labor law. Employers must ensure that they pay their employees for all hours worked, including overtime hours, to avoid similar legal challenges.

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