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Company Pays Out $3 Million to So-Called ‘Salespeople’ Who Were Denied Overtime

February 9, 2015 Overtime Class Actions

Employees said company misclassified them to avoid paying overtime

What if you consistently worked more than 40 hours a week but never got overtime, simply because of your job title?

The Fair Labor Standards Act does allow companies to exempt certain employees from being paid overtime. However, it’s no secret that some companies attempt to misclassify employees in order to get out of paying time-and-a-half if those staffers work more than 40 hours per week.

That’s precisely what Cheryl Carter, a salesperson for Russell Stover Candies, suspected was happening to her.

Was It Really a Sales Position?

Carter’s duties consisted of handling candy displays for retail stores within a certain geographic area. She claimed she would receive, inspect, and unpack shipments. In addition, she was in charge of maintaining and cleaning store displays and processing credits for retailers.

She also was no stranger to work weeks that went well beyond 40 hours. However, because Carter’s title indicated that she was a salesperson, the company claimed that she wasn’t eligible for overtime pay.

After years of not receiving the pay she felt she was entitled to, Carter decided to speak to a lawyer. The attorney was able to get Carter and several other Russell Stover salespeople certified to proceed with a class-action lawsuit against the company.

The lawsuit alleged that the employees were illegally misclassified as salespeople under the FSLA so that the company could deny them overtime. Because the workers’ duties consisted mainly of merchandising duties rather than sales, the workers shouldn’t have been classified as salespeople, according to the lawsuit.

Quitting While They Were Ahead

Rather than attempting to defend its actions in court, the company agreed to settle with the workers. It was forced to pay out over $3 million as part of the settlement.

(The case discussed here is Carter v. Russell Stover Candies.)

Contact the Murphy Law Group Now for a Free Consultation

As this fact sheet on the sales exemption under the FSLA shows, there are many things that can affect whether or not someone can legally be considered a salesperson. If you believe that you’ve been denied overtime due to a job misclassification, it’s a good idea to speak to an attorney.

Email us at, or call (267) 273-1054 for a free consultation.