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    Gristedes Found to Have Violated Federal, State Law in Overtime Class Action

    A judge said the grocer unlawfully retaliated against two plaintiffs by filing what the judge called "flimsy" counterclaims against them.

    A federal judge has granted summary judgment in favor of a class of over 400 current and former Gristedes co-managers and department managers on their claims that the New York-based grocer violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New York labor law by not paying them proper compensation for overtime hours.

    According to the ruling of Judge Paul A. Crotty of the Southern District of New York in Torres, et al., v. Gristede's Operating Corp., et al., the grocer "sought to treat workers as 'hourly' for some purposes (i.e., docking them for hours not worked during the work week), but 'salaried' for other purposes (i.e., not paying them overtime for hours worked in excess of the work week)."

    Judge Crotty further ruled that Gristedes unlawfully retaliated against two of the plaintiffs by filing counterclaims against them. The judge called the counterclaims "so flimsy that they must have been made for another purpose: to punish the individual plaintiffs for joining the FLSA suit and having the temerity to name certain Gristedes officers," among them John Catsimatidis, owner and c.e.o. of Red Apple Group, the grocer's parent corporation.

    Red Apple spokesman Rob Ryan told Crain's New York Business that the company would appeal the decision.

    Currently pending is another federal class action alleging that the grocer has systematically discriminated against female workers in hiring, pay, promotion, and job assignments.

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