Employees sue Ashley Furniture over unpaid overtime

Two Ashley Furniture sales associates have filed a class-action lawsuit that accuses their employer of failing to pay overtime wages.

Jalloh Suliaman and Barbara Tovar filed the case Nov. 5 in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas against Southwestern Furniture Stores of Wisconsin, a limited liability company that does business as Ashley Furniture, and Ashley Furniture Industries Inc.

According to its website, Ashley Furniture Industries is the world’s largest furniture manufacturer. The company issued the following statement Thursday:

“Ashley is aware that it has been named as a party in a wage and hour lawsuit filed in Nevada. However, this lawsuit has not been served and, as such, Ashley is not in a position to evaluate or comment on the lawsuit. That said, Ashley complies with all state and federal wage and hour laws.”

Suliaman and Tovar are represented by Cogburn Law Offices. Attorney Andrew Rempfer said about 45 plaintiffs had joined the case as of Thursday.

According to the lawsuit, Ashley Furniture intentionally misclassified Suliaman and Tovar as exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and paid them a mixture of salary and commissions. The business operates more than 300 retail furniture stores nationwide.

“All of Ashley Furniture’s sales associates were misclassified as exempt from overtime,” the complaint alleges.

According to the lawsuit, sales associates are entitled to overtime pay for weeks they worked more than 40 hours. The lawsuit claims sales associates were required to work, on average, eight to 10 hours of overtime a week.

“This was a corporate-wide policy, program and or practice Ashley Furniture applied at all its stores nationwide,” the lawsuit claims.

Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at cgeer@reviewjournal.com or 702-384-8710. Find her on Twitter: @CarriGeer

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