In the aftermath of the Great Recession, Staples (SPLS) is under fire for making headlines that it is in fact not the only retailer in America that is “in your face.”
The company was recently sued by the National Retail Federation (NRF) for allegedly paying workers less than minimum wage and not requiring them to work overtime.
The suit claims Staples is the most profitable retailer in the country.
But while the lawsuit was filed, Staples had to make changes to its policies to better comply with the NLRB’s labor-management law.
While the NLRBA is meant to make it easier for employers to bargain with unions, it is also a law that prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who are unionized.
“This is a case of a company being sued for making a claim that they can’t be forced to pay workers less,” said Mary Eberhardt, a partner at the law firm BakerHostetler.
“It’s a little ironic, as the NLRA was designed to prevent companies from being sued over workers who are being paid less than the minimum wage.
The NLRB is now taking it a step further by requiring them not only to pay employees more than the legally allowed amount but also to pay them more than what the law allows.”
The NRF has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Detroit that claims Staples violated the NLRI by paying employees $8.15 an hour and not including overtime in their minimum wage or overtime pay.
“Staples is an outlier,” said David Koehler, the president of the NRF.
“They’re one of the most valuable companies in the U.S. It’s not like the rest of the companies have this problem.
They’re the ones that make up the majority of companies that have employees unionized.”
Staples is one of several retailers that have come under fire from the NRFs latest lawsuit.
Last month, Costco, Wal-Mart and Target (TGT) were sued by a federal court for not paying minimum wage to some of their employees.
Target’s lawsuit, filed on behalf of more than 500,000 workers, argued that the company failed to provide adequate overtime and that the law violated their rights to organize and bargain collectively.
“We are pleased to see the NLB bringing a serious antitrust lawsuit against Staples,” said Karen Stryk, director of the consumer protection program at the National Employment Law Project (NELP).
“While it’s certainly a step forward, we think this is an important first step in ensuring that these companies pay their workers the wages they’re owed.”
The NLR was first passed in 1938 to help prevent employers from preventing employees from joining unions.
Since then, it has been expanded to include other industries and to make clear that employers can’t retaliate against employees for joining unions or exercising collective bargaining rights.
For example, the NLRF says that the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 doesn’t protect employees who join a union, which would include companies like Staples and Target.
Staples’ latest lawsuit is the latest move by the NLRs legal arm to challenge the labor law.
Earlier this month, the NRB filed an amicus brief in the case that the NLBs Legal Director Mark Ceglia.
“The NLRB has a long history of aggressively enforcing labor laws,” Cegli said in a statement.
“These latest allegations show that Staples’ conduct is unlawful, and we intend to defend this case vigorously.”
The lawsuit also includes claims from Walmart and Target for wage theft and retaliation, claiming that Staples is also in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, which prohibits retaliation against employees.
While Staples isn’t alone in filing complaints about unfair labor practices, it isn’t the only retail giant to have its fair-labor policies in jeopardy.
Earlier in February, the Department of Labor filed an emergency petition against Target (TRT) in New York state because it failed to pay its workers a living wage, the minimum required for people to qualify for a free or reduced-price meal.
Target also faces a lawsuit from the National Restaurant Association (NRA) over the minimum hourly wage it pays workers in its stores.
The lawsuit was brought after a Target employee filed a complaint that the restaurant failed to meet minimum wage requirements.
The company has responded by saying that it does pay its employees a living rate that is below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
In recent months, some retailers have also come under scrutiny for wage-shifting practices.
Last week, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) released a report detailing instances in which companies that received federal food safety certificates were able to pay lower wages to workers than those certified by state regulators.
The report said that while the FSA’s inspections have been effective in keeping the nation’s food supply safe, “the majority of food companies that fail to comply with FSIS food safety certification requirements are not subject to enforcement action by FS