ULTA faces class action

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Plaintiff

ULTA faces class action
The cosmetics retailer has been accused by former shop managers in California of misclassifying their employment status to avoid paying overtime wages.

Jaimie Quinby, Linda Gomes and Eric Fontes are the named plaintiffs in the class action suit, Quinby et al. v. ULTA Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc., U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Case 3:15-cv-04099. And, attorneys working on the case are encouraging current and former ULTA employees to get involved if they have similar concerns.

"ULTA is a hugely profitable public company that is taking advantage of its store managers by incorrectly classifying them as exempt employees,"​ say plaintiffs' attorney Gay Grunfeld of Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld in a press release about the filing.

Financial liability

The company is said to classify its store managers as exempt from overtime pay and other store staff, those who perform non-management roles like stocking, selling, and cleaning, as non-exempt. Those non-exempt staff are eligible in California for overtime pay if they’re working beyond a set number of hours at those tasks.

As the complaint reads, "Because Defendant [ULTA} allocates insufficient staff hours to each store, while simultaneously requiring [store managers] to perform the full gamut of customer service, sales, stocking, and cleaning tasks, Plaintiffs and Class Members are misclassified as exempt because they are forced to spend the majority of their working time performing the same non-managerial tasks being performed by non-exempt employees, such as Cashiers and Stock Associates. 

“As a result, [store managers] work long hours and often skip their meal and rest breaks, without receiving any overtime compensation or compensation for missed meal and rest breaks."

Retail niche

As department stores like Macy’s close locations and move into a new business model with standalone mid-market beauty boutiques like Bluemercury, it’s clear that the beauty retail space is shifting. (Read about Macy’s acquisition of Bluemercury here.​)

As the market continues to evolve, shops along the Bluemercury / ULTA / Sephora continuum will play an ever larger role in beauty retail.  "ULTA has enjoyed rapid expansion, big profits, and a soaring stock price.  It's unfortunate that this success has been built on ULTA's failure to comply with the law and refusal to pay proper compensation to the hard-working employees who make its success possible,"​ says plaintiffs' co-counsel Jennifer Liu of The Liu Law Firm in the release.

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