According to a recently filed class action lawsuit, hourly workers employed as Assistant Chiefs by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are at risk of being cheated out of overtime pay.

The VA’s Veteran Canteen Service (VCS) operates more than 172 retail stores nationwide, including PatriotCafe & Coffee Shops, which offer health and beauty care items, beverages, snacks, entertainment, electronics, gifts, stationary, clothing, and other products. The lawsuit alleges that VCS maintains a uniform pay practice that misclassifies Assistant Chiefs as “exempt” employees, making them ineligible for compensation for any hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a given workweek.

The lead plaintiff in the class action, who was employed as an Assistant Chief at a VCS store in Memphis, Tennessee, is but one example. VCS regularly scheduled him to work from 4:30 am to 7:00 pm (and sometimes until 10:00 pm) Monday through Friday, with an additional eight hours on Saturday – usually totaling 80 to 85 hours each week. VCS only paid him for 40 hours per week, shorting him significant overtime pay for the additional time he put in, a violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

The plaintiff filed the lawsuit as a class action to help other current and former VCS Assistant Chiefs to come forward and join the lawsuit to recover their unpaid overtime. He now seeks recovery for all unpaid overtime hours plus liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs as provided for by law.

If you are or were employed as an Assistant Chief by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veteran Canteen Service and believe you, too, were wrongfully denied overtime pay, please contact the attorneys in Sommers Schwartz’s Employment Litigation Group today at (248) 557-5376 to learn how we can help assert your rights to unpaid wages.


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Jason J. Thompson

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Jason J. Thompson

Jason Thompson is a nationally board certified trial attorney and co-chairs Sommers Schwartz’s Complex Litigation Department. He has a formidable breadth of litigation experience, including class action and multidistrict litigation (MDL), and practices nationwide in both state and federal courts.