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NEW YORK -- A judge in the Supreme Court of New York has ruled that a class action lawsuit on behalf of New York employees at Waldbaum's, A&P, and The Food Emporium can go forward, according to a statement released on Friday by attorneys from Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP and Outten & Golden LLP, who are representing the employees.
The plaintiffs filed their original class action complaint on June 24, 2004.
The complaint charges that the Waldbaum's, A&P, and Food Emporium stores fail to pay employees overtime wages and delete hours actually worked from time records in violation of New York labor law.
The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc. moved to dismiss the case on the ground that the New York labor law does not allow class actions. Justice Herman A. Cahn of the Supreme Court denied the motion and upheld the rights of plaintiffs to bring their lawsuit on behalf of a class.
Rachel Geman, a partner with Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, explained, "The plaintiffs in this lawsuit are seeking to represent the dedicated and hard-working hourly employees at A&P stores -- all the cashiers, clerks, bakers, pharmacists, and other hourly employees who were entitled to overtime, put in the hours to do the hard work these jobs require, but were denied the pay they earned by these grocery chains."
The lawsuit has been brought on behalf of a proposed class of current and former full-time hourly employees of Waldbaum's, A&P, and Food Emporium stores (all owned and operated by A&P) in New York for the past six years.
The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company operates approximately 140 supermarkets in the state of New York, of which 76 are Waldbaum's division stores, 32 are A&P division stores, and 32 are Food Emporium division stores.
Last year, Lieff Cabraser and Outten & Golden represented several hundred current and former employees of A&P supermarkets in the greater New York City metropolitan area in a similar case involving unpaid overtime wages filed in federal court under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. In May 2004, the federal court approved a settlement providing $3.11 million to the plaintiffs.