Workforce

Panera franchisee must pay $4.6M to settle overtime suit

Covelli Enterprises, the country’s largest Panera franchisee, wrongly excluded assistant managers from overtime protections, the court found.
Panera Bread Co.
Photograph: Shutterstock

The country’s largest Panera Bread franchisee, Covelli Enterprises, must pay $4.6 million to settle a class-action case involving overtime pay, according to a deal that received final judicial approval late last week.

The lawsuit dates back to January 2018 when a group of Panera assistant managers in Ohio filed suit against the operator claiming that they were being forced to work without overtime pay after being wrongly classified as exempt from overtime protections.

Under the settlement, Covelli must pay $4.62 million into a settlement fund for members of the protected class, made up of more than 900 assistant managers

Covelli owns and operates more than 300 Panera locations in eight states.

Panera did not immediately respond to a request to comment on the legal action.

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