Federal judge decertifies FedEx Kinko’s FLSA class

Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has decertified a class action in an overtime suit involving FedEx Kinko’s managers. According to Armstrong, the 490 “center managers” in California were executive employees and therefore exempt from overtime pay under California law in spite of the fact that they reported to other FedEx Kinko officials.

Stephen Whiteway filed the suit in 2005 claiming that the company improperly classified him as an executive-exempt employee and failed to investigate whether the classification was appropriate. In 2006, Armstrong certified the class action.

In decertifying the class, Armstrong stated that the federal Fair Labor Standards Act provides the dividing line in the hierarchical chain of management employees: “It stops at the employee in charge of a recognized subdivision of an enterprise, in this case, the employee in charge of the FedEx Kinko’s centers.” In this case, that meant the center managers.

Armstrong also found it relevant that the center managers were evaluated on their performance of managerial duties, such as driving overall store sales and managing payroll.