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Employees win suit against Bend tire retailer

Argument over hours and wages is often one of the lead reasons behind employment disputes. It certainly was in a recent case that pitted a large tire company, headquartered in Bend, Oregon, against 120 assistant managers for the company, both former and current.

The managers argued that they were not being paid the overtime they deserved with working an average of 66 hours a week, which included logging hours on every other Saturday. The company considered these employees exempt from the time-and-a-half pay that employees are in line to receive under Oregon law.

Recently, a jury in a Multnomah County Circuit Court ruled in favor of the employees, agreeing that the company purposefully took measures to get out of paying the assistant managers overtime they worked for and deserved. Executives for the tire retailer said that while it respects the court's decision, it plans to appeal that decision. A statement by the company also voiced confidence that it would win the appeal based on the fact that it offers some of the best compensation and benefits packages to its employees throughout the industry.

The tire franchise is certainly a boon for Oregon, employing 7,000 people and having 425 stores open throughout the western portion of the United States.

Currently, assistant managers make about $4,000 a month in salary, in addition to a profit sharing program that could bring them potentially thousands of more dollars -- via 3.3 to 6 percent of the company's profits. The lawsuit was filed in September 2008. The deceased owner of the company was said to have founded the business on the idea of promoting within -- employees generally starting out as tire changers and moving up to management positions.

Source: The Oregonian, "Les Schwab Tire Center assistant managers deserved overtime, jury rules," Jeff Manning, Feb. 9, 2012

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