FLSA decision puts C-suite executives on guard

The 2nd Circuit holds that a hands-on executive can be held personally responsible as an employer in a suit

As the owner, president and CEO of New York-based grocery chain Gristedes, John Catsimatidis didn’t sit in an office far removed from the day-to-day operations of the approximately 30 stores his company owned. Rather, Catsimatidis, who is also a candidate for mayor of New York, visited all of the company’s locations on a weekly basis to check on how they were being run. He regularly interacted with store managers, made sales strategy decisions, and even got involved with how products were being displayed in the store aisles.

In 2004, a class of department managers sued Gristedes, claiming that they were improperly classified as exempt from overtime pay. Among the defendants named in the suit for back wages was Catsimatidis himself. Catsimatidis’ intimate involvement with the day-to-day operations of the grocery stores he owned ultimately led to his personal assets being on the line in that lawsuit.

Adele Nicholas

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